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From  a  Paintiug  ij  Paul  Delaroche 

Napoleon  Bonaparte,  "Snuff  Box"  Portrait 


Military  Career 


OF 


Napoleon  the  Great 


An  Account  of  the  Remarkable  Campaigns 
of  the  "  Man  of  Destiny  " 


Authentic  Anecdotes  of  the   Battlefield   as  Told  by  the  Famous 
Marshals  and  Generals  of  the  First  Empire 


BY 

Montgomery  B.  Gibbs 


^''He  fought  a  thousand  glorious  wars. 

And  more  than  half  the  world  was  his; 
And  somewhere,  now,  in  yonder  sta  rs. 
Can  tell,  m.ayhap,  what  greatness  is.^' 

— Thackeray 


CHICAGO: 

E.    A.    WEEKS   &   COMPANY, 

521-531  Wabash  Ave. 


COPYRIGHT,  1895,  BY  THE  WERNER  COMPANY 


05?V(EB""C«Npt^;-^ 


To 

My  Friend 

JOHN  L.  STODDARD 

This  Volume  is 

Affectionately 

Dedicated. 


5^  \\\  V) 


Preface. 


As  the  closing  chapters  of  this  volume  were  being 
written,  a  ' '  Napoleonic  wave  ' '  seemed  to  be  passing  over 
the  country,  an  echo,  no  doubt,  of  the  furore  which  Napo- 
leon's name  has  excited  in  France  during  the  past  three 
years.     One  writer  wittily  says  : 

"  Where'er  I  turn,  I'm  forced  to  learn, 

Some  detail  of  his  life, 

I  read  about  his  sword  and  hats, 

And  how  he  beat  his  wife. ' ' 
It  seems  but  fair,  therefore,  for  the  author  of  this  volume 
to  declare  that  the  revival  of  interest  in  the  career  of  the 
man  who  for  fifteen  years  had  been  the  glory  of  France, 
has  in  no  way  caused  the  hasty  writing,  or  publication,  of 
this  anecdotal  military  history.  It  is  the  result  of  years 
of  study,  and  represents,  not  only  a  careful  reading  of 
those  authorities  which  all  must  have  access  to  who  would 
write  intelligently  of  the  subject,  but  also  of  the  more 
recent  volumes  which  have  appeared  from  time  to  time, 
each  having  something  new  to  reveal  concerning  the 
seemingly  inexhaustible  fund  of  information  pertaining  to 


this  son  of  a  poor  Corsican  gentleman,  who  as  his  greatest 
biographer  has  said  of  him,  "played  in  the  world  the 
parts  of  Alexander,  Hannibal,  Caesar  and  Charlemagne." 

There  has  never  been  a  time,  during  the  last  fifty  years 
at  least,  when  the  public  was  not  eager  to  learn  something 
new  concerning  the  wonderful  career  of  the  man  who 
once  held  all  Europe  prisoner  in  the  folds  of  the  French 
flag.  The  world  regards  Napoleon  Bonaparte  as  a  military 
genius  at  least,  whatever  it  may  think  of  the  political  or 
social  side  of  his  life,  and  its  relation  to  France.  The 
writer  does  not  believe  that  they  are  inseparably  con- 
nected, and  in  offering  this  work  it  is  his  desire  to  better 
acquaint  the  admirers,  as  well  as  the  enemies  of  the 
"Little  Corporal,"  with  his  military  career,  not  tech- 
nically, but  to  picture  him  as  his  marshals,  generals  and 
soldiers  knew  him  on  the  battlefield  and  around  the 
campfire. 

Many  of  these  famous  marshals  and  generals,  who 
shared  day  by  day  all  the  glories  and  perils  of  their  chief, 
and  who  vied  with  him  in  their  activity  and  daring,  have 
lately  given  to  the  world  their  ' '  Memoirs, ' '  published 
many  years  after  their  death,  for  obvious  reasons.  From 
them  one  gets  a  much  clearer  insight  into  the  true 
characteristics  of  their  heroic  leader.  Being  men  of  sUght 
education  their  writings  are  confined  largely  to  the  gossip 
of  the  campaigns  in  which  they  were  active  participants, 
and  in  reading  them  one  is  often  tempted  to  believe  that 
Napoleon  was  in  command  of  both  belligerent  armies,  so 
accurately  did  this  giant  among  warriors  forecast  the  move- 
ments of  the  enemy  on  the  battlefield  ;  and  after  victory 
had  favored  his  bold  strokes,  finding  himself  in  a  position 
to  reshape,  at  will,  the  map  of  Europe  ;  for  he  conducted 


his  campaigns  with  a  degree  of  skill  which,  it  is  conceded 
by  all  military  authorities,  has  never  been  excelled. 

No  man  ever  understood  how  to  excite  emulation,  by 
distributing  praise  or  blame,  as  did  Napoleon.  Chaboulon 
well  says  that  the  ascendancy  possessed  by  the  Emperor 
over  the  minds  and  courage  of  the  soldiery  was  truly 
incomprehensible.  A  word,  a  gesture,  was  sufficient  to 
inspire  them  with  enthusiasm,  and  make  them  face  the 
most  terrible  ordeals.  If  ordered  to  rush  to  a  point, 
although  the  extreme  danger  of  the  manoeuvre  might  at 
first  strike  the  good  sense  of  the  soldiers,  they  immediately 
reflected  that  their  general  would  not  have  issued  such  a 
command  without  a  motive,  or  have  exposed  them  wan- 
tonly. '  *  He  knows  what  he  is  about, ' '  they  would  say, 
and  immediately  rush  on  to  death,  uttering  shouts  of 
' '  I/ong  live  the  Kmperor  !' ' 

No  attempt  is  here  made  to  give  a  history  of  France 
from  the  time  Bonaparte  first  made  his  entrance  into  the 
drama  of  which  he  was  so  soon  to  be  the  leading  actor. 
The  successive  periods  of  the  Revolution,  the  Directory, 
the  Consulate  and  the  Empire  are  only  introduced  when 
found  neccessary  to  explain  the  rapidly  advancing  steps 
of  this  wonderful  character  in  history,  the  worshiped  idol 
of  an  entire  nation,  that  his  military  career  may  be  the 
■better  understood  ;  hence  it  has  been  thought  advisable  to 
refer  briefly,  at  times,  to  the  relations  of  France  with  other 
countries,  and  the  cause  of  his  spending,  during  the  ten 
years  of  his  reign  as  Emperor,  exactly  fifty-four  days  less 
in  camp,  and  under  the  enemy's  fire,  so  to  speak,  than  he 
did  in  his  royal  residences  ! 

This,  then,  is  the  story  of  the  man  who  personally 
commanded  in  600  skirmishes,  and  85  pitched  battles, 


resigning  at  last  his  leadership  on  the  field  of  Waterloo,  a 
victim  of  treachery  and  incompetency  exceeding  even  his 
own  well-grounded  fears ;  but  even  after  these  years  of 
constant  warfare  and  conquest,  after  maintaining  huge 
armies  in  almost  all  parts  of  the  world,  he  left  France  the 
richest  nation  in  the  universe,  and  in  possession  of  a 
larger  amount  of  specie  than  the  rest  of  Europe  ;  and  not- 
withstanding the  fact  that  in  1796,  when  he  was  given 
command  of  the  Army  of  Italy,  he  found  his  government 
not  only  incapable  of  paying  its  ragged  and  weary  troops, 
but  unable,  even,  to  feed  them  ! 


M.  B.  G. 


Chicago^  III.  December ^i,  18^4.. 


Contents 


Chapter  I. 

Page 

Boyhood  Days  and  Eari,y  Career  ....  9 

Chapter  II. 
Bonaparte's  Campaign  in  Itai.y,  1796-7  ....         45 

Chapter  HI. 
Expedition  to  Egypt 107 

Chapter  IV. 
Passage  of  the  Ai,ps  and  Battle  oe  Marengo  .        .        141 

Chapter  V. 
Ui<M  and  Austerwtz 175 

Chapter  VI. 
The  Batti^E  ok  Jena 211 

Chapter  VII. 
The  BattivE  of  Eyi,au 230 

Chapter  VIII. 
FRIED1.AND  and  Peace  of  Tilsit 241 

Chapter  IX. 
War  with  Spain ■       .        ,        ,        .        253 


Chapter  X. 

Page 

War  with  Austria.    1809  .......        274 

Chapter  XI. 
The  Batti^e  oe  Wagram     .        .        .        .        .        .,        .        288 

Chapter  XII. 
Campaign  oe  Russia 305 

Chapter  XIII. 
The  Campaign  of  18 13 347 

Chapter  XIV. 
The  Invasion  oe  France 373 

Chapter  XV. 
EX11.E  TO  Elba 409 

Chapter  XVI. 
The  Hundred  Days.    Waterloo 435 

Chapter  XVII. 
Conclusion >       .       489 

Index 5o7 


emr^ 


^'^ 


Illustrations 


Page 

NapoIvKon  Bonaparte  "Snuff-Box "  Portrait       Frontispiece 

BONAPARTF  AT  THF  Siege  OF  ToUIvON.          .           .           ,           .  II 

Bonaparte  Escapes  Capture  at  I^onato         .        .        .  27 

BONPARTE  AT  THE  BRIDGE  OF  ARCOI^A    .     .    .     .  43 

Bonaparte  at  the  BattivE  of  Rivoi.1       .        ,        .        .  59 

Bonaparte  and  the  Si^EEping  SenTinei,         •        •        •  75 

Bonaparte  at  the  Batti^e  of  St.  George       ...  91 

Siege  of  Mantua 107 

Bonaparte  as  General-in-Chief  of  the  Army  of  Itai,y,  123 

BATTI.E  of  the  Pyramids           139 

Bonaparte  at  the  Siege  of  Acre            ....  i'>5 

Return  of  the  French  Army  from  Syria             .        .  171 

NapoivEon  Crossing  the  Ai^ps        .....  187 

French  Troops  Crossing  the  Great  St.  Bernard       .  203 

Capitui^ation  OF  Generai,  Mack  AT  Ui,M        .        .        .  219 

Batti^e  of  Austertjtz 235 

Meeting  Between  Napoi^eon  and  Francis  II.  of  Austria  251 

NAPOIvEON  at  the  BATTI.E  OF  JENA      ...                      .  267 

Entry  of  napoi^eon  Into  Beri,in     .....  283 

Napoi,eon  at  the  BattivE  of  Eyi,au         ....  299 


Page 

The;  14TH  IvINe;  at  Kyi^au 315 

Napoi.e;on  at  the  Battiv^  of  Friedi,and          .        .        .  331 

Review  oe  Troops  in  the  Pi,ace  du  Carrousei/,  Paris.  347 

Insurrection  in  Madrid 363 

Napoi^eon  at  the  Batti,e  oe  Wagram      ....  379 

Arrivai.  oe  the  Grand  Army  At  Moscow        .        .        .  395 

Retreat  From  Moscow,  "1812" 411 

Departure  oe  Napoi^eon  for  Paris         ....  427 

Return  of  Napoleon  from  Ei.ba 443 

Napoi<eon  on  the  Heights  at  Ligny        ....  459 

Preparations  for  the  Advance  of  the  Oi.d  Guard  at 

WATERI.00 475 

Napoleon  at  Waterloo 49^ 


Military  Career 

OF 

Napoleon  the  Great 


An  Account  of  the  Remarkable 

Campaigns  of  the  "  Man 

of  Destiny  " 


BOYHOOD  DAYS  AND  KARI,Y  CAREER 

When  Napoleon  was  a  pupil  of  the  Military  School  at 
Brienne,  as  a  pensioner  of  the  king,  he  wrote  to  his 
mother  in  Corsica : 

"With  Homer  in  my  pocket,  and  my  sword  by  my  side, 
I  hope  to  carve  my  way  through  the  world  !" 

Bonaparte  was  then  a  youth  of  but  ten  years  of  age. 
For  nearly  thirty-five  years  from  this  time  his  life  was  a 
series  of  achievements,  the  success  of  which  has  rarely 
been  equalled, — ^from  a  military  standpoint,  never. 

His  infancy  was  only  different  from  that  of  most  other 
boys  in  that  he  showed  great  animation  of  temper,  and 
an  impatience  of  inactivity,  by  which  children  of  quick 
perception  and  lively  sensibility  are  usually  distinguished. 

It  has  been  said  that  the  name  "  Napoleon"  was  given 
to  the  new-born  infant  of  Madame  Bonaparte,  according 
to  a  common  custom  among  Catholics,  of  naming  the  child 


lo  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

after  the  saint  on  whose  festival  it  is  baptized,  and  that  the 
1 6th  of  August,  the  day  of  young  Bonaparte's  baptism, 
was  the  festival  of  St.  Napoleon,  (Napoleone),  a  saint  then 
peculiar  to  Corsica. 

On  the  confirmation  of  young  Bonaparte  at  the  Paris 
Military  School  the  archbishop  who  oflSciated,  manifesting 
some  astonishment  at  the  name  "Napoleon,"  said  he 
did  not  know  of  any  such  saint,  and  that  there  was  no 
such  name  in  the  calendar. 

'*  That  should  be  no  rule,"  replied  Napoleon  quickly, 
' '  since  there  are  an  immense  number  of  saints,  but  only 
three  hundred  and  sixty-five  days  !" 

While  an  exile  at  St.  Helena  Napoleon  said  to  O'Meara, 
his  surgeon,  "  Saint  Napoleon  ought  to  be  much  obliged 
to  me,  and  place  all  his  credit  in  the  other  world  to  my 
account.  The  poor  devil !  No  one  knew  him  once,  he  had 
not  even  a  day  in  the  calendar.  I  procured  him  one,  and 
persuaded  the  pope  to  assign  to  him  the  15th  of  August, 
my  birthday. ' ' 

It  has  frequently  been  said  of  Napoleon  that  he  was 
born  to  command.  From  his  earliest  youth  he  chose  arms 
for  his  profession,  and  in  every  study  likely  to  be  of  service 
to  the  future  soldier  he  distinguished  himself  above  his 
contemporaries.  With  the  mathematical  tutors  he  was 
always  a  great  favorite.  His  ardor  for  the  abstract  sciences 
amounted  to  a  passion,  and  was  combined  with  a  singular 
aptitude  for  applying  them  to  the  purposes  of  war,  while 
his  attention  to  pursuits  so  interesting  in  themselves  was 
stimulated  by  his  natural  ambition  and  desire  of  distinction 
in  this  science. 

Even  before  Napoleon  began  his  systematic  training  for 
a  military  career,  and  while  but  nine  years  of  age,  he 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  n 

developed  a  fondness  for  mimic  warfare  that  frequently 
astonislied  his  older  companions,  many  of  whom  were  his 
superiors  both  in  strength  and  endinrance  ;  but  none  of 
whom  were  able  to  cope  with  him  in  strategy,  or  whose 
resources,  when  put  to  test,  were  so  versatile.  At  Ajaccio, 
the  place  of  his  birth,  the  city  boys  were  often  engaged  in 
personal  encounters  with  the  youths  from  the  country.  At 
first  these  contests  were  but  the  natural  outcome  of  a 
jealousy  which  is  so  often  found  to  exist  between  city  and 
country  boys,  who  meet  upon  the  same  playground.  At 
length  this  feeling  of  rivalry  became  more  bitter,  and  on 
some  occasions,  especially  on  holidays,  when  the  country 
lads  were  in  the  habit  of  "  coming  to  town,"  as  many  as  a 
score  of  them  were  often  to  be  found  on  each  side  engaged 
in  pitched  battles  with  sticks  and  stones. 

The  country  youths  had  for  a  time  been  eminently 
successful  in  these  encounters,  and  were  disposed  to 
braggadocio  manners.  They  went  about  the  streets  with 
their  heads  lifted  high,  and  as  a  result,  the  older  folks  soon 
began  to  take  an  interest  in  the  outcome  of  the  assaults. 
On  several  occasions,  too,  the  parents  of  the  youths  were 
interested  spectators  of  the  contests,  and  although  the 
flying  missiles  were  extremely  likely  to  injure  the  onlooker, 
no  suggestion  of  putting  an  end  to  the  battles  was  ever 
proposed  by  the  older  heads. 

Young  Bonaparte  was  much  chagrined  at  these  defeats, 
and  sought  to  find  reasons  for  them.  When  not  an  active 
participant  he  would  often  withdraw  to  some  secluded 
spot,  and  there  watch  the  movements  of  either  side,  hoping, 
no  doubt,  to  detect  some  flaw  in  their  manner  of  fighting 
ihat  he  might  take  advantage  of  it  at  a  later  date,  and  thus 
recover  the  good  name  of  his  city  comrades.     It  could  not 

2 


12  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

be  in  numbers  that  defeat  lay  for  they  were  almost  always 
equally  divided,  and  besides,  there  seemed  to  be  an 
unwritten  law  between  them  that  ' '  Man  against  man  ' ' 
must  in  common  honor  be  observed. 

Finally  Bonaparte  hastily  gathered  about  him  a  few  of 
his  chosen  friends,  in  whom  he  had  the  most  confidence, 
and  laid  before  them  a  plan,  which,  if  followed,  he  assured 
them  would  not  only  humiliate  their  hated  rivals,  but 
would  also  result  in  their  complete  overthrow.  With 
shouts  of  approval  his  plan  was  at  once  declared  "a  tip-top 
one  ' '  and  his  lieutenants  proceeded  to  carry  out  his  orders. 
He  directed  that  a  certain  number  of  boys  be  formed  into 
a  company,  whose  duty  it  should  be  to  supply  ammunition. 
A  ' '  defi  ' '  was  then  sent  to  the  conquerors  who  promptly 
replied  that  they  had  nothing  to  fear.  It  soon  became 
noised  about  among  the  inhabitants  of  Ajaccio  that  a 
* '  final  contest ' '  was  to  be  fought  on  a  certain  day,  and 
hours  before  the  time  set,  hundreds  of  spectators  were  on 
hand  to  witness  the  contest  which  was  destined  to  re-estab- 
lish' the  prestige  of  the  city  boys.  At  length  the  fated 
hour  arrived  and  the  country  boys  made  their  appearance 
on  the  battlefield,  armed  with  short  sticks, — their  usual 
weapons, — and  full  of  confidence.  For  a  short  time 
Napoleon  and  his  followers  maintained  their  position 
against  these  sturdy  warriors,  although,  as  heretofore,  they 
found  themselves  overmatched  by  mere  force  of  brute 
strength. 

Napoleon  now  gave  the  signal  agreed  upon  to  retreat. 
Slowly  his  forces  gave  way,  endeavoring  at  the  same  time 
to  keep  up  an  appearance  of  fighting  to  the  best  of  their 
ability.  To  reassure  the  country  chaps  that  they  were 
overpowering  their  contestants  purely  on  their  fighting 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  i3 

merits,  an  occasional  rally  was  ordered  by  the  city  leader  ; 
but  this  show  of  resistance  was  always  followed  by  him 
with  another  retreat  more  pronounced  than  that  which 
preceded  it.  At  length  Napoleon  found  himself  with  his 
followers  on  the  shore  of  the  sandy  beach  and  the  country 
lads  believed  themselves  conquerors  once  more.  "Vic- 
tory!" "Victory!"  they  cried,  as  they  came  rushing  up, 
expecting  a  complete  surrender.  In  their  haste  to  make 
a  final  assault  the  pursuers  had  not  noticed  that  each  of 
the  city  boys  had  laid  down  his  stick  and  had  his  hand 
upon  the  ground.  In  it  was  grasped  tightly  a  stone  which 
was  still  partially  covered  by  the  sands  of  the  beach. 

"Ready  !  Fire  !"  shouted  Napoleon,  and  immediately 
the  air  was  filled  with  swift-flying  stones,  each  of  which 
was  followed  by  a  second  and  that  by  a  third  missile,  all 
landing  with  terrific  force  on  the  unprotected  heads  and 
shoulders  of  the  over-confident  country  lads.  They  had 
cried  victory  before  the  battle  was  won  . 

In  another  moment  they  found  themselves  disorganized 
and  the  victims  of  shouts  of  derision  that  came  from  the 
spectators  who  had  followed  the  retreating  forces  to  see  the 
final  outcome  of  the  battle.  Sticks  at  a  distance  of  20  or 
30  feet  were  no  match  for  the  new  weapons  of  the  city  lads^ 
and  reluctantly  they  turned  and  fled,  having  themselves 
no  stones  to  throw. 

Now  it  was  Napoleon's  forces  who  were  the  pursuers  ; 
but  the  ranks  of  the  sturdy  country  lads  were  sadly  depleted 
and  their  resistance  was  brief. 

That  night  Napoleon  was  a  hero  in  Ajaccio.  With  the 
older  folks  gathered  about  him  he  told  and  retold  how  he 
and  his  followers  had  spent  the  preceding  night  burying 
stones  in  the  sand ,  that  they  might  have  them  for  weapons 


14  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

on  tlie  morrow  when  Napoleon's  plan,  which  included 
retreat  to  this  point  on  the  beach,  might  be  turned  into 
the  victory  they  had  been  assured  would  follow  their  ar- 
rival there. 

The  student  of  Napoleon's  military  campaigns  will  detect 
in  this  manoeuvre  a  striking  similarity  to  more  sanguine 
contests  on  the  battlefield  where  human  lives  were  at  stake. 

Throughout  his  life  Napoleon's  stronghold  was  strategy, 
and  never  was  it  more  clearly  illustrated  than  in  this 
harmless  contest  of  his  youth,  and  to  which  he  often 
recurred  when  passing  an  hour  or  two  with  his  marshals 
and  generals  while  preparing  for  contests  on  which  the  fate 
of  France  depended. 

Up  to  a  few  years  ago, — it  may  to  this  present  time, — 
an  interesting  relic  of  Napoleon's  childhood  was  preserved 
in  his  native  place.  It  was  a  small  brass  cannon,  weighing 
about  thirty  pounds,  and  it  is  said  he  would  leave  all  other 
amusements  for  the  pleasure  of  firing  off  this  dangerous 
plaything.  His  favorite  retreat  was  a  solitary  summer 
house,  among  the  rocks  on  the  sea  shore,  about  a  mile 
from  Ajaccio,  where  his  mother's  brother  had  a  villa.  The 
place  is  now  in  ruins  ;  it  afterwards  came  to  be  known  as 
"  Napoleon's  Grotto."  Nothing  interested  him  more 
during  these  early  years,  than  to  hear  his  mother  tell  the 
story  of  her  exciting  hardships  as  she  fled  from  one  part 
of  the  island  to  another  before  the  conquering  French. 
Thus,  unconsciously,  she  no  doubt  nurtured  in  her  second 
son  that  warlike  spirit  which  was  manifested  in  him  to 
such  a  marked  degree  in  after  years. 

During  the  time  Napoleon  attended  school,  young  men 
were  taught  that  the  only  fame  worth  striving  for  was  that 
won    by   military   achievements.       Napoleon's    parents, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  15 

therefore,  exerted  all  the  influence  they  could  command  to 
gain  scholarships  for  the  education  of  their  two  oldest 
sons, — Joseph  and  Napoleon.  Their  prayers  were  at  last 
granted  owing  to  the  invaluable  aid  of  Monsieur  de 
Marboeuf,  Bishop  of  Autun  and  nephew  of  the  governor 
of  Corsica.  Joseph  was  to  take  orders  and  to  be  placed  in 
the  college  of  Autun  ;  Napoleon,  intended  for  the  navy, 
was  to  go  to  the  school  at  Brienne,  having  previously  gone 
through  a  course  at  Autun  so  as  to  learn  sufficient  French 
to  be  able  to  follow  the  lectures.  They  started  on  this 
journey,  which  was  to  have  so  much  influence  on  their 
future  lives,  on  December  15,  1778.  After  a  halt  at 
Florence  to  procure  papers  showing  the  ancient  nobility 
of  the  Bonaparte  family,  and  which  were  necessary  to 
Napoleon  before  entering  the  school  at  Brienne,  they  pro- 
ceeded to  Autun.  The  herald  declared  that,  "Young 
Napoleon  Bonaparte  possessed  the  nobility  necessary  for 
admission  into  the  ranks  of  the  gentlemen  who  are  educated 
by  his  Majesty  in  the  royal  schools."  Charles  Bonaparte 
had  been  able  to  satisfy  the  authorities  that  his  patent  of 
nobility  was  authentic  and  privileged  him  to  sign  his  name 
"  de  Bonaparte." 

Napoleon  arrived  at  Brienne,  on  the  23d  of  April,  1779, 
having  in  three  months  at  Autun  ' '  learned  sufficient 
French  to  enable  him  to  converse  easily  and  to  write  small 
essays  and  translations. ' ' 

At  Brienne  Bourrienne,  whose  friendship  for  him  com- 
menced thus  early,  describes  him  as  follows  :  "Bonaparte 
was  noticeable  at  Brienne  for  his  Italian  complexion,  the 
keenness  of  his  look,  and  the  tone  of  his  conversation  with 
masters  and  comrades.  There  was  almost  always  a  dash 
of  bitterness  in  what  he  said.     He  had  very  little  of  the 


i6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

disposition  that  leads  to  attachments;  which  I  can  only 
attribute  to  the  misfortunes  of  his  family  ever  since  his 
birth  and  the  impression  that  the  conquest  of  his  country 
had  made  on  his  early  years. ' ' 

The  fact  that  he  was  a  brave,  manly  boy,  all  biographers 
agree  in  recording.  His  poverty  subjected  him  to  morti- 
fication among  his  comrades,  who  also  ridiculed  him  on 
account  of  his  country  and  twitted  him  with  the  obsolete 
saint  whose  name  he  bore.  These  taunts  he  allowed 
himself  to  settle  with  the  offenders  openly  and  never 
descended  to  report  them  to  his  tutors.  On  one  occasion, 
with  Bourrienne,  who  became  his  private  secretary  in  later 
years,  he  suffered  several  days'  imprisonment  rather  than 
reveal  the  names  of  the  real  offenders  who  had  neglected 
their  duties. 

Napoleon's  promptitude  of  reply  was  displayed  on  many 
occasions  during  his  attendance  at  this  school.  One  day 
as  he  was  undergoing  an  examination  by  a  general  ofl&cer, 
he  answered  all  the  questions  proposed  with  so  much  pre- 
cision, and  accompanied  by  such  a  depth  of  penetration, 
that  the  general,  the  professors  and  the  students,  were 
astonished.  At  length,  in  order  to  bring  the  interroga- 
tories to  a  close, Napoleon  was  asked  the  following  question: 

' '  What  line  of  conduct  would  you  adopt  in  case  you 
were  besieged  in  a  fortified  place  and  was  destitute  of 
provisions  ?" 

"  So  long  as  there  were  any  in  the  camp  of  the  enemy, 
I  should  never  be  at  a  great  loss  for  a  supply, ' '  came  the 
answer  quickly,  amid  the  applause  of  the  pupils. 

One  of  the  most  delightful  winters  of  Napoleon's  early 
life  was  that  of  1782,  spent  at  this  military  school.  He 
was  just  at  that  age  when  a  boy  most  keenly  enjoys  new 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  17 

scenes  and  new  excitements.  It  was  the  thirteenth  winter 
of  his  life.  He  was  older  than  most  boys  are  at  thirteen. 
His  mind  and  his  muscles  were  better  developed.  But, 
nevertheless,  he  was  still  a  boy. 

It  happened  that  this  winter  was  one  of  the  coldest  and 
most  severe  in  the  history  of  France,  so  memorable  by  the 
quantity  of  snow  that  fell  and  which  accumulated  upon 
the  roads  in  great  quantities.  The  snow  came  early  and 
stayed  late,  and  the  students  could  find  but  little  amuse- 
ment without  doors.  Napoleon  was  the  first  to  suggest 
that  it  be  used  to  develop  their  practical  knowledge,  and 
at  the  same  time  to  beguile  the  weary  hours  they  would 
otherwise  be  compelled  to  spend  within  doors.  He  said 
one  day  : 

"  Let  us  divide  into  two  hostile  forces  and  battle,  while 
the  snow  lasts,  for  the  possession  of  the  play  ground." 

The  proposition  was  received  with  favor  and  was  unan- 
imously accepted.  By  common  consent  Napoleon,  whose 
authority  no  one  questioned,  was  chosen  to  command 
the  projected  mimic  war,  the  school  being  divided  into 
two  equal  armies.  Bxtensive  fortifications  of  snow  were 
at  once  erected  by  busy  hands  who  then  armed  themselves 
for  the  coming  fray.  So  complete  were  the  arrangements 
that  even  the  inhabitants  of  the  village  gave  up  all  other 
pursuits  to  witness  the  battles.  For  fifteen  days,  while  the 
snow  lasted,  they  built  forts  and  counter-forts, dug  trenches, 
constructed  bastions  and  made  or  met  sallies  with  snow- 
ball battles,  neglecting  for  the  nonce  their  less  interesting 
studies. 

It  is  related  that  Napoleon  was  greatly  enraged  one  day 
to  find  that  the  other  side  had  tried  to  get  the  best  of  his 
men  by  putting  a  round  stone  into  each  snowball,  but  when 


i8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

someone  advised  him  to  imitate  the  tactics  of  the  foe  he 
indignantly  refused,  saying  that  he  would  win  without 
doing  so  or  be  beaten. 

The  fort  of  the  enemy  was  at  last  captured  after  Napoleon 
had  gone  through  the  formalities  of  a  siege,  in  which  he 
displayed  much  of  the  quickness  of  combination  for  which 
he  was  noted  on  the  battlefield  in  after  years.  His  soldierly 
methods  electrified  his  fellow  students  and  astonished  the 
professors  as  well.  "  This  little  sham  war,"  says  Bour- 
rienne,  "  was  carried  on  for  the  space  of  a  fortnight,  and 
did  not  cease  until  a  quantity  of  gravel  and  small  stones 
having  got  mixed  with  the  snow  of  which  we  made  our 
bullets,  many  of  the  combatants,  besiegers  as  well  as 
besieged,  were  seriously  wounded.  I  well  remember  that 
I  was  one  of  the  worst  sufferers  from  this  sort  of  grapeshot 
fire." 

In  1783  Bonaparte,  on  the  recommendation  of  the 
inspector  of  the  twelve  military  schools,  was  sent  from 
Brienne  to  the  Royal  Military  School  at  Paris  to  have  his 
education  completed  in  the  general  school, — an  extraordi- 
nary compliment  to  the  genius  and  proficiency  of  a  boy  of 
fifteen.  He  was  one  of  three  to  receive  that  honor,  a 
tribute  paid  to  the  precocity  of  his  extraordinary  mathe- 
matical talent,  and  the  steadiness  of  his  application.  The 
entry  made  at  that  time  in  the  military  records  says  : 

"  Monsieur  de  Bonaparte  (Napoleon)  born  August  15th, 
1769  ;  in  height  four  feet,  ten  inches,  ten  lines  ;  of  good 
constitution,  health  excellent,  character  mild,  honest  and 
grateful;  conduct  exemplary  ;  has  distinguished  himself 
by  application  to  mathematics  ;  understands  history  and 
geography  tolerably  well  ;  is  indifferently  skilled  in  merely 
ornamental  studies,  as  well  as  in  L^atin  ;  would  make  an 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  19 

excellent  sailor ;  deserves  to  be  passed  to  the  Military 
School  at  Paris." 

The  young  student  did  not  arrive  in  Paris  in  the 
guise  of  the  future  conqueror  of  the  world.  On  the 
contrary,  he  looked  like  a  "new-comer;"  he  gaped 
at  everything  he  saw,  and  gazed  about  in  a  dazed 
sort  of  way.  As  a  Corsican  compatriot  who  met  him  as 
he  was  getting  out  of  the  coach  has  said  :  ' '  His  appear- 
ance was  that  of  a  youth  whom  any  scoundrel  would  try 
to  rob  after  seeing  him,  if  indeed  he  had  anything  worth 
taking!"  However,  it  should  not  be  forgotten  that  he 
was  but  a  youth  of  fifteen,  felt  his  poverty  keenly,  and  was 
about  to  enter  into  the  noise  and  extravagant  life  of  the 
rich  students  of  this  royal  military  school.  As  he  himself 
said  in  181 1  :  "All  these  cares  spoiled  my  early  years  ; 
they  influenced  my  temper  and  made  me  grave  before  my 
time." 

At  the  Paris  school  Napoleon  labored  hard,  as  he 
had  done  at  Brienne  for  five  years,  being  especially 
proficient,  as  before,  in  mathematics.  Everything  was 
very  luxurious  here,  and  Bonaparte  complained  in  a 
memorial,  which  he  presented  to  the  superintendent  of 
the  establishment,  that  the  mode  of  life  was  too 
expensive  and  delicate  for  "poor  gentlemen"  and 
could  not  properly  prepare  them  either  for  returning 
to  their  "modest  homes,"  or  for  the  hardships  they  would 
encounter  in  war.  He  proposed  that  instead  of  a  regular 
dinner  of  two  courses  daily,  the  students  should  have 
ammunition  bread  and  soldiers'  rations,  and  be  compelled 
to  mend  and  clean  their  own  stockings  and  shoes.  "If  I 
were  king  of  France,"  he  said  one  day  to  a  companion, 
' '  I  would  change  this  state  of  things  very  quickly ! ' '     This 


20  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

memorial  is  said  to  have  done  him  no  service,  for  every 
third  boy  that  looked  on  him  was  a  duke  from  his  cradle, 
while  the  Young  Corsican  was  still  a  ' '  pensioner  of  the 
king  ;"  but  the  schools  established  by  him  after  he  became 
Kmperor  were  on  that  severe  plan.  ' '  Although  believing 
in  the  necessity  of  show  and  magnificence  in  public 
life,"  says  Meneval,  his  second  private  secretary, 
' '  Napoleon  remained  true  to  these  principles,  while 
lavishing  wealth  on  his  ministers  and  marshals  :  'In  your 
private  life'  said  he,  'be  economical  and  even  parsimonious; 
in  public  be  magnificent. '  ' ' 

On  being  reproved  one  day  by  an  uncle  of  the  Duchess 
d'  Abrantes  for  ingratitude  as  a  "  pensioner  of  the  king, ' ' 
he  broke  out  furiously  with  an  expression  of  indignation. 
"Silence!"  said  the  gentleman  at  whose  table  he  was 
sitting;  "It  ill  becomes  you,  who  are  educated  by  the 
king's  bounty,  to  speak  as  you  do." 

"I  am  not  educated  at  the  >^zV/^'jr  expense,"  replied 
Bonaparte,  his  face  flushed  with  rage,  "  but  at  the  expense 
of  the  nation  !'' ' 

Young  Napoleon  made  but  poor  advancement  in  the 
German  language  while  at  this  school,  and  by  reason  of  it 
ofiended  M.  Bauer  his  tutor.  One  day,  not  being  in 
his  place,  M.  Bauer  inquired  where  he  was,  and  was 
told  that  he  was  attending  his  examination  in  the 
class  of  artillery. 

"Oh!  so  he  does  learn  something,"  said  the  professor 
ironically. 

"Why,  sire,  he  is  the  best  mathematician  in  the  school," 
was  the  reply. 

'  'Ah,  I  have  always  heard  it  remarked  and  I  have  always 
believed,  that  none  but  a  fool  could  learn  mathematics!" 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  21 

* 

"It  would  be  curious,"  said  Napoleon,  who  related  this 
anecdote  when  he  was  Emperor, ' '  to  know  whether  M. 
Bauer  lived  long  enough  to  ascertain  my  real  character, 
and  to  enjoy  the  confirmation  of  his  own  judgment." 

Napoleon  had  not  been  in  the  Military  School  of  Paris  a 
year, — during  which  time  his  father  had  died, — and  had 
barely  completed  his  sixteenth  year,  when  he  successfully 
passed  the  examination,  in  August  1785, — for  a  commis- 
sion in  a  regiment  of  artillery. 

On  September  ist  the  decree  was  signed  which  assigned 
Bonaparte  as  Second-Iyieutenant  in  the  company  of  bom- 
bardiers of  the  regiment  of  La  Fere  garrisoned  at  Valence. 
At  the  time  of  the  examination  there  were  thirty -six  vacant 
places.  M.  de  Feralio,  one  of  the  professors  of  the  military 
school  charged  with  this  examination,  is  said  to  have 
inscribed  on  the  margin,  opposite  to  the  signature  of 
Napoleon,  the  following  :  "A  Corsican  by  character  and 
by  birth.  If  favored  by  circumstances  this  young  man 
will  rise  high."  This  professor  was  very  fond  of 
his  young  pupil,  and  when  at  school  is  said  to  have 
occasionally  supplied  him  with  pocket  money.  After  his 
death  Napoleon  granted  a  handsome  pension  to  his  widow. 

Napoleon's  corps  was  at  Valence  when  he  joined  it. 
Arriving  there  he  was  an  occasional  frequenter  of  the 
drawing  room  of  Madame  du  Colombier,  and  it  is  said  he 
made  love  to  her  daughter  ;  but  when  not  so  engaged,  he 
was  devoted  to  his  military  studies,  and  read  frequently 
from  the  Lives  of  Plutarch,  a  volume  of  which  he  gener- 
ally carried  about  him .  He  a  Iso  occupied  himself  in  writing 
a  ' '  History  of  Corsica ' '  which,  when  completed,  the  Abbe 
Raynal  and  other  friends  praised  very  highly;  but  he  was 
unable  to  find  a  publisher  for  it. 


22  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

At  Valence  Napoleon  found  the  officers  of  his  regiment 
divided,  as  all  the  world  then  was,  into  two  parties  ;  the 
lovers  of  the  French  monarchy,  and  those  who  desired  its 
overthrow.  Napoleon  openly  sided  with  the  latter.  '  'Had 
I  been  a  general,"  said  he,  in  the  evening  of  his  life,  "  I 
might  have  adhered  to  the  king;  being  a  subaltern  I  joined 
the  patriots." 

In  the  beginning  of  1792  Napoleon  became  captain  of 
artillery,  unattached,  and  happening  to  be  in  Paris,  wit- 
nessed the  lamentable  scenes  of  the  20th  of  June,  when 
the  revolutionary  mob  stormed  the  Tuileries,  and  lyouis 
XVI.  and  his  family,  after  undergoing  innumerable  insults 
and  degradations,  with  the  utmost  difficulty  preserved  their 
lives.  As  he  was  strolling  about  with  Bourrienne  he  saw 
the  mob, numbering  between  five  and  six  thousand,  ragged 
and  ridicrdously  armed,  coming  from  the  outskirts  and 
making  for  the  Tuileries.  ' '  I^et  us  follow  these  scoun- 
drels, ' '  he  said.  They  went  with  the  crowd  into  the  garden 
before  the  palace,  and  when  the  king  appeared  at  one  of 
the  windows  on  the  balcony, surrounded  by  Revolutionists, 
and  with  the  red  cap  of  liberty, the  emblem  of  theJacobins,on 
his  head.  Napoleon  could  no  longer  suppress  his  contempt 
and  indignation.  ' '  Poor  driveller  !"  said  he,  loud  enough 
to  be  heard  by  those  near  him  ;  ' '  how  could  he  sufler  this 
rabble  to  enter  ?  If  he  had  swept  away  five  or  six  hundred 
with  his  cannon,  the  rest  would  be  running  yet  /' '  Napoleon 
always  abhorred  anarchy.  He  said  there  was  no  remedy 
for  mobs  but  grape-shot,  and  believed  thoroughly  in  the 
theory  of  shooting  first  and  listening  to  peace  negotiations 
afterwards. 

He  was  also  a  witness  of  the  still  more  terrible  loth  of 
August,  in  the  same  year,  when  the  palace  being  once 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  23 

more  invested,  the  National  Guard  assigned  for  its  defense 
took  part  with  the  assailants.  This  time  the  royal  family- 
were  obliged  to  take  refuge  in  the  National  Assembly,  and 
the  brave  Swiss  Guards  were  massacred  almost  to  a  man. 

Bonaparte  was  a  firm  friend  of  the  Assembly,  to  the 
charge  of  a  part  of  which,  at  least,  these  excesses  must  be 
laid  ;  but  the  spectacle  disgusted  him.  The  yells,  screams, 
and  pikes  with  bloody  heads  upon  them,  formed  a  scene 
which  he  afterwards  described  as  ' '  hideous  and  revolting. ' ' 
But  with  what  a  different  feeling  of  interest  would  he 
have  looked  on  that  infuriated  populace,  those  still 
resisting  though  overpowered  Swiss,  and  that  burning 
palace,  had  any  seer  whispered  to  him  :  ' '  Emperor  that 
shall  be,  all  this  blood  and  massacre  is  but  to  prepare  your 
future  Empire  !  " 

He  mingled  little  in  society;  but  he  saw  much  of  the 
people  and  took  sides  irrevocably  with  the  cause  of  the 
nation.  At  this  time  he  was  without  employment  and 
very  poor,  wandering  idly  about  Paris,  and  living  chiefly  at 
cheap  restaurants.  As  yet  he  had  been  but  a  spectator  of 
the  Revolution,  destined  to  pave  his  own  path  to  sovereign 
power;  but  it  was  not  long  before  circumstances  called 
him  to  play  a  part  in  this  tragic  drama  which  was  then 
attracting  the  attention  of  the  civilized  world. 

It  was  shortly  after  these  stirring  scenes  in  Paris,  that 
Bonaparte  visited  his  mother  in  Corsica,  arriving  there  with 
his  sister  EHza  on  September  1 7th,  1792.  For  the  first  time 
in  thirteen  years  the  family  was  reunited,  and  their  joy 
would  have  been  complete  had  their  circumstances  not  been 
so  sad.  Their  resources  were  diminishing  day  by  day  and 
the  recovery  of  what  was  due  them  became  constantly  more 
difiicult,  owing  to  civil  discords.     The  only  fund  upon 


24 


MILITARY  CAREER  OF 


wliich  they  could  rely  seems  to  have  been  Napoleon's  pay 
as  an  artillery  officer. 

The  following  year,  while  Bonaparte  was  still  enjoying 
the  leave  of  absence  from  his  regiment,  an  expedition  arrived 
from  France  to  deprive  General  Paoli,  governor  of  Cor- 
sica, of  his  control,  he  having  denounced  the  National 
Assembly  as  the  enemy  of  France.  Paoli  endeavored  to 
enlist  Napoleon  in  his  cause ;  among  other  flat- 
teries he  patted  him  on  the  back  and  said  :  ' '  You 
were  cast  in  an  antique  mould  ;  you  are  one  of  Plutarch's 
men.  The  whole  world  will  talk  of  you,"  but  the  young 
Corsican  was  loyal  to  France,  and  was  not  to  be  deceived 
by  either  entreaties  or  flattery.  He  declared  his  belief 
that  Corsica  was  too  weak  to  maintain  indepen- 
dence, that  she  must  fall  under  the  rule  either  of  France 
or  England,  and  that  her  interests  would  be  best  served 
by  adhering  to  the  former.  Napoleon  then  tendered  his 
sword  to  Salicetti,  one  of  the  Corsican  deputies  to  the  Con- 
vention, and  was  appointed  provisionally  to  the  command 
of  a  battalion  of  National  Guards. 

The  first  military  service  on  which  he  was  employed  for 
his  native  country  was  the  reduction  of  a  small  fortress, 
called  the  Torre  di  Capitello,  near  Ajaccio.  He  took  it, 
but  was  soon  besieged  in  it,  and  he  and  his  garrison,  after  a 
gallant  defense, and  living  for  some  time  on  horseflesh,  were 
glad  to  evacuate  the  tower,  and  escape  to  the  sea.  Paoli 
was  soon  reinforced  by  England,  and  the  Bonapartes 
were  among  those  who  were  banished  from  the  country. 
During  this  Corsican  revolution  the  inhabitants  were  much 
divided  as  to  the  rights  of  England  and  France  in  the 
island.  An  officer  in  the  French  troops,  who  sided  with 
England,  was  much  scandalized  at  the  position  taken  by 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  _      25 

the  Bonapartes, — ^Joseph,  Napoleon  and  lyUcien.  One 
day,  in  the  hearing  of  Napoleon,  the  officer  made  use  of 
some  very  harsh  language  towards  them,  and  was 
especially  bitter  against  Napoleon.  At  this  a  friend  de- 
fended him  with  much  warmth  and  finished  by  saying  to 
the  officer  :  ' '  Sir,  you  are  not  worth  a  pair  of  Napoleon's 
old  boots!" 

In  the  year  1 800,  Napoleon  then  being  First  Consul  of 
France,  the  officer  who  had  defended  him,  and  who 
had  for  some  time  followed  his  standard,  and  had  been 
raised  to  distinction  by  him,  happening  to  meet  Bonaparte 
among  a  large  party  at  dinner  at  the  house  of  the  First 
Consul's  mother,  was  drawn  aside  before  the  company 
placed  themselves  at  the  table,  and  with  his  finger  over  his 
mouth,  Napoleon  said  in  a  half- joking,  half -serious  man- 
ner :  "  My  dear  sir,  not  a  word,  I  entreat  you,  about  the 
old  boots  !" 

As  a  result  of  the  insurrection  in  Corsica  Napoleon  saw 
Ajaccio  in  ashes,  and  the  home  of  his  childhood  pillaged 
and  burned  ere  he  took  his  departure.  His  mother  and 
sisters  took  refuge  first  at  Nice,  and  afterwards  at  Mar- 
seilles, where  for  some  time  they  suffered  all  the 
inconveniences  of  poverty  and  exile.  At  that  period 
nothing  was  more  deplorable  than  Bonaparte's  pros- 
pects ;  nothing  more  uncertain  than  the  future.  But 
he  believed  that  fortune  would  not  alv/ays  abandon 
him.  France  was  in  the  hands  of  men  who  acted  largely 
from  self-interest,  and  here  he  apparently  saw  a  chance  to 
carve  his  way  to  fame  by  getting  in  the  vortex  of  the 
Revolution.  It  was  probably  on  this  occasion  that  he 
repeated  the  well-known  words :  "  In  a  revolution  a  soldier 
should  never  despair  if  he  possesses  courage  and  genius." 


26  '     MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Napoleon  now  resolved  to  rejoin  his  regiment ;  he  had 
chosen  France  for  his  country,  and  ever  afterwards 
it  was  his  home  until  exiled  to  St.  Helena. 

During  the  night  of  August  27th,  1793,  Toulon  was 
delivered  to  the  English,  and  its  subsequent  siege  and 
retaking  was  destined  to  be  the  first  incident  of  importance 
which  enabled  Bonaparte  to  distinguish  himself  in  the  eyes 
of  the  French  Government,  and  of  the  world  at  large.  The 
head  of  lyouis  XVI.  had  rolled  from  the  block,  and  a 
month  afterwards  the  Convention  had  declared  war  against 
England. 

Early  in  September  France  was  attacked  on  every 
side,  and  a  third  of  her  provinces  had  rebelled  against 
the  government  established  at  Paris,  which  enforced  its 
supremacy  by  a  regime  carried  on  under  a  Reign  of  Ter- 
ror. Among  the  provinces  in  open  insurrection  were  all 
those  of  the  south.  An  army  corps  invested  Lyons,  while 
another,  after  subduing  Marseilles,  marched  against  Tou- 
lon, the  great  arsenal  and  seaport,  and  delivered  by  the  Bour- 
bons into  the  hands  of  England.  Adjutant  Cervoni 
was  at  once  dispatched  to  Marseilles  to  ascertain  if  he 
could  find  in  that  town  some  artillery  officer  of  dis- 
tinction to  whom  might  be  intrusted  the  chief  command 
of  the  siege  batteries  before  Toulon. 

While  strolling  through  the  streets  Cervoni  met  with  a 
captain  of  artillery  who  was,  like  himself,  perambulating 
the  thoroughfares.  This  captain  was  a  Corsican  and  a 
compatriot;  his  name  was  Napoleon  Bonaparte.  He  was 
covered  with  the  dust  of  the  road  along  which  he  had 
been  walking  ;  for  he  had  just  arrived  from  Avignon, 
whither  he  had  escorted  a  convoy  of  ammunition,  and 
was  on  his  way  to  Nice.     Cervoni  thought   that  Bona- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  27 

parte  would  be  just  the  man  to  watch  over  the 
movements  of  the  army  before  Toulon  :  he  appeared  very 
young, — ^he  was  only  twenty-four  years  of  age — ^butitwas 
stated  that  a  month  before  the  Republican  army  was  on 
the  point  of  beating  a  retreat  in  front  of  Avignon  when  he, 
with  two  field-pieces  and  eighty  men,  bombarded  the  town 
in  the  rear  so  effectively  that  the  inhabitants  and  federal 
troops  were  overcome  with  fright  and,  convinced  that  they 
had  been  betrayed,  abandoned  the  place  to  the  Republi- 
cans who  entered  victorious,  thanks  to  the  boldness  and 
foresight  of  Captain  Bonaparte. 

Cervoni  invited  him  to  enter  a  cafe ;  Bonaparte 
accepted,  and  the  two  men  had  a  chat  over  a  bowl  of 
punch.  The  young  captain  doSed  his  hat,  so  that  his 
features  were  lighted  up  by  the  blue  flame  of  the  liquor  ; 
his  complexion  was  sallow  and  his  head  large,  measuring 
as  it  did  twenty-three  inches  round.  If  the  size  of  his 
skull  was  large,  the  space  between  the  two  cheek-bones 
was  enormous.  The  hair  grew  low  on  his  forehead  ;  the 
well-arched  brows  disclosed  large  eyes,  sharp  as  steel,  cold, 
clear  and  piercing  ;  the  aquiline  nose  was  of  the  most 
delicate  shape,  the  lower  lip  strong  and  receding,  while 
the  chin  and  the  jaws  were  as  well  developed  as  the  skull. 

After  a  conference  Napoleon  departed  for  Toulon  where 

he -was  promoted  to  the  rank  of   Brigadier- General  of 

Artillery,  with  the  command  of  the  artillery  during  the 

siege.     The  arsenal  was  filled  with  military  stores,  and 

twenty-five   English  and  Spanish  battleships  were  then 

riding   in  the  harbor  to  protect  it.     Three  months  had 

passed,  during  which  time  no  apparent  progress    had 

been  made  towards   the  recapture  of  the  town,  and  when 

Napoleon  arrived  he  was  invested  with  the  command  of  the 

artillery  train. 
3 


28  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

A  strong  fort  commanded  the  harbor,  and  after  a  care- 
ful examination  Napoleon  said  the  only  way  to  retake  Tou- 
lon was  to  neglect  the  body  of  the  town,  carry  "Little 
Gibraltar, ' '  and  the  city  would  surrender  in  two  days. 
Napoleon's  brother  Lucien  visited  him  about  this  time. 
They  went  together  one  morning  to  a  place  where  a  fruitless 
assault  had  been  made,  and  two  hundred  Frenchmen  were 
dead  upon  the  ground.  On  beholding  them  Napoleon 
exclaimed  :  "  If  I  had  commanded  here  all  these  brave 
men  would  still  be  alive!"  A  moment  later  he 
added  :  "  Learn  from  this  example,  young  man,  how  in- 
dispensable and  imperatively  necessary  it  is  for  those  to 
possess  knowledge  who  aspire  to  the  command  of  others. ' ' 

Napoleon's  own  account  of  his  experiences  here  is 
extremely  interesting,  and  was  thus  related  by  him  during 
his  exile  at  St.  Helena  : 

"  I  reported,  as  I  had  been  ordered  to  do,"  he  said,  "to 
General  Cartaux,  (a  portrait  painter  of  Paris  )  who  was 
in  charge  of  the  revolutionary  forces.  He  was  a  tall  man, 
all  covered  with  gilt  decorations,  and  a  type  of  the  militia 
officer.  I  saw  at  once  that  he  was  utterly  incompetent  to 
the  task  that  had  been  laid  out  for  him.  I  said  :  'I  have 
been  directed  to  assist,  under  your  order,  in  the  taking  of 
Toulon,'  He  replied  :  '  We  need  no  assistance  in  taking 
Toulon  ;  but  since  they  have  sent  you  here  you  may  enjoy 
yourself  as  best  you  can  and  see  the  siege. '  Then  he  gave 
orders  to  have  me  treated  with  courtesy. 

' '  Well,  the  next  morning  I  went  out  with  the  general 
to  look  at  the  preparations  for  bombarding  the  stronghold. 
He  called  an  aid-de-camp  and  asked  in  a  business-like 
manner:  '  Are  the  red-hot  shot  ready  ?'  I  was  surprised, 
but  said  nothing.     The  subordinate  replied :   '  Oh,  yes, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  29 

the  men  have  been  busy  all  night  heating  them.  I  was  now 
more  surprised  than  ever,  but  still  kept  silent.  What 
followed  would  have  made  me  believe  they  were  trying  to 
guy  me  if  their  manner  had  not  been  so  serious.  General 
Cartaux  asked  how  they  were  going  to  get  the  red-hot 
shot  over  to  the  guns.  That  seemed  to  puzzle  the  aid-de- 
camp. The  General  himself  didn't  know  what  to  do. 
After  a  great  deal  of  speculation,  and  some  swearing,  he 
asked  me  what  I  would  do  under  the  circumstances.   I  said: 

' '  '  You  will  find  it  an  excellent  idea  to  try  the  range  of 
your  guns  with  cold  shot  first.  If  the  range  isn't  right 
the  hot-shot  will  be  of  no  service. 

' '  He  laughed  merrily  and  agreed  with  me.  The  order 
was  given  to  try  the  range.  The  result  was  that  the  cold 
shot  didn't  carry  more  than  a  third  of  the  distance.  The 
bombarding  of  the  fort  was  put  oif  another  day. 

"  I/Uckily  Gasparin,  the  direct  representative  of  the 
people  with  plenary  powers,  came  riding  up  that  night, 
and  I  told  him  what  I  had  seen  and  heard.  He  agreed 
that  the  man  in  command  was  incompetent,  and  put  me  in 
charge.  You  all  know  the  rest.  I  began  the  attack  on  the 
outlet  of  Toulon  and  was  successful.  Gasparin  consoled 
Cartaux  by  telling  him  that  I  was  only  a  subordinate,  and 
that  all  the  glory  would  go  to  him  anyhow. ' ' 

During  this  siege  of  the  ' '  I^ittle  Gibraltar  Castle ' ' 
Bonaparte  showed  his  extensive  knowledge  of  mankind, 
and  which  enabled  him  to  discover  and  attach  to 
him  those  men  whose  talents  were  most  distinguished, 
and  most  capable  of  rendering  him  service.  Several  who 
afterwards  became  marshals  and  generals  under  the  Em- 
pire, first  made  Napoleon's  acquaintance  at  Toulon. 
Among  these  were  Duroc  and  Junot.     During  one  of  the 


30  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

days  of  this  long  siege  Napoleon,  in  passing  one  of  the 
trenches,  called  for  some  one  to  write  an  order  from  his 
dictation,  and  in  obedience  to  this  request  a  young  and 
handsome  soldier  stepped  out  of  the  ranks,  and  resting  his 
paper  on  the  breastwork,  began  to  write  as  directed. 
Scarcely  had  he  done  so  when  a  cannon  ball  fell  at  his 
feet  and  covered  both  commander  and  private  with  dirt. 
The  soldier  laughingly  held  up  his  paper  and  said : 
"Thank  you,  now  I  shall  need  no  sand." 

Napoleon  was  so  pleased  with  his  bravery,  and  ready 
wit,  that  he  immediately  promoted  him.  The  name  of  this 
fortunate  man  was  General  Junot  ;  he  subsequently  became 
Duke  of  Abrantes  and  was  one  of  the  most  distinguished 
generals  of  the  Empire  under  Napoleon.  An  apparent 
total  insensibility  to  fatigue  was  observed  in  the  young 
Corsican  officer  at  this  time.  He  worked  through  day- 
light, and  slept  nights  wrapped  in  a  blanket  under  his 
guns  till  his  batteries  were  ready  to  begin  operations. 

During  the  siege  Paris  was  very  restless,  and  after  a  few 
weeks  had  passed  it  became  almost  the  sole  topic  of  conver- 
sation at  the  capital;  the  newspapers  contained  innumerable 
suggestions  for  the  ending  of  the  siege,  and  hundreds  of  let- 
ters were  addressed  to  the  officers  at  Toulon,  telling  them  how 
to  drive  the  English  from  the  shores  of  France.  One  day 
fifteen  carriages  arrived  at  Toulon  containing  sixty  young 
men  who  had  journeyed  thither  from  the  capital ;  they 
were  gorgeously  arrayed  and  asked  to  be  presented  to  the 
commander-in-chief. 

Bonaparte  received  the  party  courteously  and  asked  what 
he  could  do  for  them,  "Citizen  Bonaparte,"  said  the 
spokesman ,  "  we  come  from  Paris.  The  patriots  there  are 
indignant  at  your  indecision  and  delay.     The  soil  of  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  31 

Republic  has  been  violated.  She  trembles  to  think  that 
the  insult  still  remains  unavenged.  She  asks,  '  Why  is 
Toulon  not  yet  taken  ?  Why  is  the  Knglish  fleet  not  yet 
destroyed  ?'  In  her  indignation  she  has  appealed  to  her 
brave  sons.  We  have  obeyed  her  summons  and  burn  with 
impatience  to  fulfill  her  expectations.  We  are  volunteer 
gunners  from  Paris.  Furnish  us  with  arms.  To-morrow 
we  will  march  against  the  enemy  !" 

Karly  on  the  following  day  Napoleon  conducted  the 
"  volunteers  "  to  the  seashore.  During  the  night  he  had 
ordered  a  number  of  cannon  placed  in  position  and  as  he 
pointed  to  the  black  hull  out  at  sea  he  said  :  ' '  Sink  that 
ship  !" 

At  some  distance  from  the  shore  lay  an  English  frigate, 
upon  whose  deck  were  to  be  seen  a  formidable  array  of 
cannon,  all  pointed  shorewards. 

"  But  there  is  no  shelter  here  !"  said  the  volunteers  in 
chorus.  At  this  moment  a  broadside  was  fired  by  the  , 
gunners  on  the  frigate  and  the  brilliantly  decorated 
patriots  from  the  capital  fled  in  every  direction,  amid  the 
smiles  of  the  commander-in-chief  who  at  once  gave  orders 
for  his  own  gunners  to  return  the  fire  of  the  enemy. 
^  Toulon  was  at  last  retaken  on  December  17th,  the  siege 
having  lasted  four  months. 

When  Bonaparte  at  last  raised  the  French  emblem  over 
the  city,  and  as  it  floated  with  the  breezes  over  a  scene  of 
desolation  long  remembered  by  those  who  witnessed  it,  he 
said  to  Dugommier :  "  Go  to  sleep;  we  have  taken  Toulon !" 

It  was  here  that  Napoleon  was  first  severely  wounded. 
When  his  body  was  being  prepared  for  burial  at  St.  Helena 
there  was  found  upon  his  left  thigh  so  deep  a  scar  that  it 
was  nearly  possible  to  place  one's  finger  in  it.     This  had 


32  MILITARY  CAREER  OP 

been  caused  by  a  bayonet  thrust  received  during  this 
engagement,  and  in  consequence  of  which  he  nearly  lost  his 
leg.  In  addition  to  the  wound  he  had  a  number  of  horses 
shot  under  him.  Another  of  the  dangers  which  he  incurred 
was  of  a  singular  character.  An  artilleryman  being  shot 
at  the  gun  which  he  was  serving,  while  Napoleon  was  visit- 
ing a  battery,  the  commander  took  up  the  dead  man's 
rammer,  and  to  give  encouragement  to  the  soldiers, 
charged  the  gun  with  his  own  hands.  The  gunner  had 
been  afEicted  with  a  skin  disease  which  Napoleon  con= 
tracted  from  the  weapon, and  for  a  number  of  years  after- 
ward he  suffered  from  its  ravages. 

Soon  after  the  retaking  of  Toulon  Bonaparte  accom- 
panied General  Dugommier  to  Marseilles.  Some  one 
struck  with  his  appearance  asked  the  general  who  that  little 
bit  of  an  officer  was,  and  where  he  picked  him  tipf 

"  That  officer's  name,"  replied  the  general,  "  is  Bona- 
parte: I  picked  him  up  at  the  siege  of  Toulon,  to  the 
successful  termination  of  which  he  eminently  contributed; 
and  you  will  probably  see,  one  day,  that  this  little  bit  of  an 
officer  is  a  greater  man  than  any  of  us!" 

Napoleon  was  now  rapidly  rising  in  reputation.  His 
science  as  an  artillery  officer  and  his  valor  had  saved  France? 
from  humiliation — taught  her  enemies  to  respect  her — 
had  suppressed  the  spirit  of  insurrection  in  the  southern 
provinces, and  had  given  the  government  of  the  Convention 
control  of  the  whole  army. 

It  has  been  said  that  Napoleon's  fame  first  came  to  the 
knowledge  of  Barras,,  a  member  of  the  Directory,  through 
a  letter  taken  by  his  5^oung  protege  to  Paris  not  long  after 
this  siege.  It  was  a  commendatory  letter  addressed  to 
Carnot  in  which  Barras  thus  expressed  himself  :    "I  send 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  33 

you  a  young  man  who  has  distinguished  himself  very  much 
during  the  siege,  and  earnestly  recommend  you  to  advance 
him  speedily:  If  you  do  not,  he  will  most  assuredly  advance 
himself  /^^ 

Bonaparte's  name  was  on  the  list  of  those  whom  the 
veteran  Dugommier  recommended  for  promotion,  and  he 
was  accordingly  confirmed  in  his  provisional  situation  of 
chief  of  battalion  and  appointed  to  hold  that  rank  in  Italy. 
He  therefore  proceeded  to  join  the  headquarters  of  the 
French  army  then  lying  at  Nice.  Here  he  suggested  a 
plan  by  which  the  Sardinians  were  driven  from  the  Coe  di 
Tendi.  Saorgio,  with  all  its  stores,  soon  surrendered,  and 
the  French  obtained  possession  of  the  maritime  Alps,  so 
that  the  difficulties  of  advancing  into  Italy  were  greatly 
diminished.  Of  these  movements,  however.  Napoleon's 
superior  officers  reaped  as  yet  the  honor.  While  directing 
the  means  of  attaining  these  successes  Bonaparte  acquired 
a  complete  acquaintance  with  that  Alpine  country  in  which 
he  was  shortly  to  obtain  victories  in  his  own  name,  not  in 
that  of  others  who  were  now  rapidly  acquiring  reputation 
by  acting  on  his  timely  suggestions. 

One  of  his  favorite  methods  of  planning  manoeuvres  he 
originated  at  this  time  while  studying  his  maps  and  plans 
of  the  Alpine  country.  He  had  so  familiarized  himself 
with  the  locality  that  no  point  of  importance  was  unknown 
to  him.  With  this  data  before  him,  Bonaparte  would  sit 
for  hours,  intent  on  studying  the  maps  of  the  country,  and 
upon  which  he  had  stuck  pins,  the  heads  of  which  he  had 
covered  with  wax  of  various  shades.  One  color  was  used 
to  designate  the  French,  another  the  enemy,  and  by 
changing  the  location  of  the  pins  on  the  map  he  formed 
various  intricate  plans  of  attack  and  retreat  that  some 


34  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

years  later  were  most  valuable  to  him.  This  ingenious 
scheme  is  often  used  at  the  present  day  by  large  wholesale 
houses  to  designate  the  territory  of  their  salesmen  while 
travelling  about  the  country. 

While  in  Nice  Napoleon  was  suddenly  arrested  and 
thrown  into  prison  on  an  order  sent  from  Paris  by  the 
Committee  of  Public  Safety.  He  had  been  sent  there 
with  secret  instructions  from  the  government  ' '  to 
collect  facts  that  would  throw  light  upon  the  in- 
tentions of  the  Genoese  government  respecting  coal- 
ition, etc. , "  and  although  he  acquitted  himself  with  all  the 
care  necessary  to  success,  his  excess  of  zeal  came  nearly 
ending  fatally  to  him,  for  it  was  a  time  when  it  was  safe 
to  have  secrets  from  no  one.  It  was  a  time,  too,  when 
revolutionists  owed  it  to  themselves  to  arrest  their  prede- 
cessors, and  as  there  had  been  a  change  in  the  government, 
Napoleon's  secret  journey  was  unknown  to  Salicetti  and 
Albitte,  who  had  succeeded  Ricord. 

Young  Robespierre,  who  received  the  order  of  arrest,  was 
much  astounded  at  it.  The  document  added  that  the 
prisoner  was  to  be  at  once  brought  under  a  strong  escort 
to  Fort  Carre  near  Antibes  and  there  imprisoned  and  tried 
"for  treason  against  the  Republic."  Robespierre  asked 
Napoleon  to  come  into  his  room,  and  showed  him  the 
document,  which  might  mean  death.  Then  he  said: '  'You 
must  not  go  away  yet.  J  will  put  you  under  arrest,  and 
then  I  will  write  to  my  brother,  who  has  some  influence 
with  the  committee.  He  may  be  able  to  get  the  order 
rescinded." 

Napoleon  refused  to  get  agitated  over  his  arrest.  Junot, 
Sebastiani  and  Marmont,  his  young  aides-de-camp,  had 
formed  a  plan  of  escape  and  advised  him  to  choke  the  guard, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  35 

Steal  a  small  boat,  and  flee  to  the  Corsican  coast,  where  he 
could  hide  himself  in  the  mountains.  Bonaparte,  knowing 
his  innocence,  refused  to  try  to  escape,  but  addressed  the 
following  letter  to  Junot,  et  al:  "I  fully  recognize  your 
friendship,  my  dear  Junot, in  the  proposition  you  make  me: 
you  have  long  known  the  sincerity  of  mine  for  you,  and  I 
hope  that  you  trust  in  it.  Men  may  be  unjust  towards  me, 
my  dear  Junot,  but  for  me  my  innocence  is  sufficient.  My 
conscience  is  the  tribunal  before  which  I  summon  my  con- 
duct. This  conscience  is  calm  when  I  question  it.  Do 
nothing,  therefore;  all  friendly  greetings.     Bonaparte;. 

Under  arrest  at  Fort  Carre,  Antibes. ' ' 

It  was  only  when  told  that  he  was  dismissed  from  the 
army, and  declared  unworthy  of  public  confidence,  that  he 
addressed  a  spirited  letter  to  Albitte  and  Salicetti,  the 
committee  that  ordered  his  arrest, and  which  caused  them 
to  reconsider  their  resolution. 

In  his  dramatic  communication  to  this  committee,  Bona- 
parte said  in  part :  ' '  You  have  suspended  me  from  my 
functions, arrested  and  declared  me  suspected.  Therein  you 
have  branded  me  without  judging, — or  rather  judged  with- 
out hearing.  *  *  *  Hear  me ;  destroy  the  oppression 
that  environs  me,  and  restore  me  in  the  estimation  of 
patriotic  men.  An  hour  after,  if  villains  desire  my  life,  I 
shall  esteem  it  but  little  ;  I  have  despised  it  often." 

In  a  few  days  the  influence  of  the  great  Robespierre  had 
made  itself  felt;  a  message  was  consequently  received  re- 
scinding the  order  and  Napoleon  was  honorably  discharged 
from  custody.  His  papers  had  been  examined,  and  as 
nothing  was  found  in  them  to  implicate  him,  he  was  set  at 
liberty  at  once.  In  those  stormy  times  more  than  one 
innocent  man  had  been  sent  to  the  guillotine  on  a  less 


36  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

flimsy  accusation  than  this,  and  Napoleon  had,  therefore, 
good  reason  to  be  thankful  for  the  interposition  of 
Robespierre. 

At  this  time  the  young  warrior  was  most  studious,  and 
is  said  to  have  thus  early  acquired  the  habit  of  taking 
short  snatches  of  sleep,  which  seemed  to  refresh  him  fully 
as  much  as  the  longer  periods  required  by  others.  While 
at  Nice  one  of  his  friends,  on  a  particular  occasion,  went 
to  Napoleon's  apartments  long  before  daybreak,  and  not 
doubting  that  he  was  still  in  bed,  knocked  gently  at  the 
door,  fearful  of  disturbing  him  too  abruptly.  Upon  enter- 
ing his  chamber  he  was  not  a  little  astonished  at  finding 
Bonaparte  dressed  as  during  the  day,  with  plans,  maps  and 
various  books  scattered  around  him. 

"  What !"  exclaimed  the  visitor,  "  not  yet  in  bed?" 

"  In  bed,"  replied  Napoleon,  "  I  am  already  risen." 

"  Indeed,  and  why  so  early  ?" 

' '  Oh,  two  or  three  hours  are  enough  for  any  man  to 
sleep  !"  was  the  general's  reply. 

Some  years  later,  when  Bonaparte  was  forming  the 
' '  Code  Napoleon  "  ,  he  astonished  the  Council  of  State  by 
the  readiness  with  which  he  illustrated  any  point  in  dis- 
cussion by  quoting  the  Roman  Civil  L^aw,  a  subject  which 
might  seem  entirely  foreign  to  him,  since  the  greater  part 
of  his  life  had  been  passed  on  the  battlefield.  On  being 
asked  how  he  had  acquired  so  familiar  a  knowledge  of  law 
affairs  he  replied  :  ' '  When  I  was  lieutenant  I  was  put 
under  arrest,  unjustly,  it  is  true,  but  that  is  nothing  to  the 
point.  The  little  room  which  was  assigned  for  my  prison 
contained  no  furniture  but  an  old  chair  and  an  old  cup- 
board :  in  the  cupboard  was  a  ponderous  volume,  older  and 
more  worm-eaten  than  all  the  rest.     It  proved  to  be  a 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  37 

digest  of  the  Roman  law.  As  I  had  neither  paper,  pens, 
ink  or  pencil,  you  may  easily  imagine  that  this  book  was 
a  valuable  prize  to  me.  It  was  so  voluminous  and  the 
leaves  were  so  covered  with  marginal  notes  in  manuscript 
that,  had  I  been  confined  one  hundred  years  I  could  never 
have  been  idle.  I  was  only  deprived  of  my  liberty  ten 
days  ;  but,  on  recovering  it,  I  was  saturated  with  Justinian 
and  the  decisions  of  the  Roman  legislators.  Thus,  1 
picked  up  my  knowledge  of  the  Civil  Law. ' ' 

Bonaparte  did  not  resume  his  functions  at  Nice,  after 
his  release  from  imprisonment,  but  repaired  to  Marseilles 
where  his  mother  was  living  in  distressed  circumstances. 
Before  the  end  of  the  year  he  again  came 
to  Paris  to  solicit  employment.  At  first  he  met  with 
nothing  but  repulses.  Aubry,  president  of  the  military 
committee,  objected  to  his  youth,  at  which  Bonaparte 
replied  rather  sharply  :  ' '  One  ages  quickly  on  battlefields, 
and  I  have  just  left  one. ' '  The  president,  who  had  not 
seen  much  actual  service  himself,  thought  he  was  insulted, 
and  treated  Napoleon  very  coldly  in  consequence. 

Shortly  afterwards  Bonaparte  was  offered  the  command 
of  a  brigade  of  infantry  which  he  refused,  declaring  that 
nothing  could  induce  him  to  leave  the  artillery.  Writing 
to  Sucy,  a  friend,  on  this  subject.  Napoleon  said:  "I 
have  been  ordered  to  serve  as  a  general  of  the  line  in  I^a 
Vendee.  I  will  not  accept.  Many  soldiers  could  direct  a 
brigade  better  than  I,  and  few  have  commanded  artillery 
with  greater  success. ' '  His  refusal  was  followed  by  the 
erasure  of  his  name  from  the  list  of  general  officers  in  em- 
ployment. Some  time  later  he  asked  for  a  commission  to 
Turkey  to  form  a  barrier  against  the  encroachments  of 
Russia  and  Kngland,  but  it  was  not  granted.     No  answer 


38  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

was  returned  to  his  memorial,  over  which  he  conversed  for 
some  weeks  with  great  enthusiasm .  ' '  How  strange  it  would 
be,"  he  said  to  his  friends, "  if  a  little  Corsican  should  be- 
come king  of  Jerusalem. ' '  Already  he  was  contemplating 
greatness,  and  firmly  believed  in  his    "  Star  of  Destiny." 

At  length  he  was  nominated  to  the  command  of  a 
brigade  of  artillery  in  Holland.  The  long-deferred  ap- 
pointment was,  no  doubt,  very  welcome  ;  but  in  the  mean- 
time his  services  were  called  for  in  a  more  important  field. 
When  the  National  Guard  sided  with  the  enemies  of  the 
Convention,  and  took  up  arms  against  the  Government,  a 
man  of  force  and  decision  was  needed  to  defend  them 
from  the  insurgents.  A  collision  had  taken  place  on 
October  3rd,  1795,  when  the  troops  of  the  Convention  were 
withdrawn  by  that  body.  The  insurgents,  who  repre- 
sented the  forty-eight  sections  of  Paris,  were  prepared  to 
attack  the  Palace  of  the  Tuileries  next  morning  with  up- 
wards of  40,000  men,  and  take  the  Government  in  their 
own  hands.  The  nation,  and  especially  the  superior 
classes,  aided  by  the  Royalists,  were  indignant  at  the 
conduct  of  the  members  of  the  Convention, — who  schemed 
to  perpetuate  themselves  in  ofiice, — and  formed  a  most  for- 
midable opposition  to  the  measures  of  the  existing  Gov- 
ernment. 

General  Bonaparte  was  at  the  theatre  when  informed  of 
the  events  that  were  passing.  He  at  once  hastened  to  the 
Assembly  where  he  found  the  members  in  the  heat  of  de- 
bate and  greatly  exercised  over  their  approaching  danger. 

Deliberating  with  Tallien  and  Carnot,  Barras,  who  had 
been  present  at  Toulon  during  the  siege, said  :  "There is 
but  one  man  who  can  save  us.  I  have  the  man  whom  you 
want ;  it  is  a  little  Corsican  officer  who  will  not  stmid  upon 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  39 

ceremony  r'  Napoleon  was  sent  for  and  notified  that  he 
had  been  chosen  to  defend  the  Government  as  second  in 
command  under  Barras.  Unknown  to  the  Assembly, 
he  had  been  present  at  their  meeting,  and  heard  all 
that  had  been  said  of  him.  He  deliberated  on  the  best 
course  to  pursue  for  more  than  half  an  hour,  and  at  last 
decided  to  take  up  their  cause,  if  allowed  to  do  so  in  his 
own  way.  When  Barras  presented  Napoleon  to  the  Con- 
vention as  a  fit  man  to  be  intrusted  with  the  command,  the 
President  asked  : 

' '  Are  you  willing  to  undertake  the  defense  of  the  Con- 
vention?" 

' '  Yes, ' '  was  the  reply. 

' '  Are  you  aware  of  the  magnitude  of  the  undertaking  ?' ' 

' '  Perfectly  ;  and  I  am  in  the  habit  of  accomplishing 
that  which  I  undertake.  I  accept,  but  I  warn  you  that, 
once  my  sword  is  out  of  the  scabbard,  I  shall  not  replace 
it  until  I  have  established  order. ' ' 

He  refused,  however,  to  accept  the  appointment  unless 
he  received  it  free  from  all  interference.  The  trembling 
Convention  quickly  yielded,  and  although  Barras  enjoyed 
the  title  of  ' '  Commander-in-chief, ' '  Bonaparte  was  act- 
ually in  control  of  the  troops. 

-Upon  consultation  with  Menou,  who  was  then  in  prison, 
and  whom  he  succeeded.  Napoleon  quickly  obtained  the 
information  desired.  He  learned  that  the  available  de- 
fense consisted  of  but  5,000  soldiers  of  all  descriptions, 
with  40  pieces  of  cannon  then  at  Sablons  and  guarded 
by  only  one  hundred  and  fifty  men.  Without  the  loss  of 
a  moment  Napoleon  began  his  preparations  for  the  morrow 
which  was  to  decide  whether  the  mob  was  to  triumph,  and 
France  lose  all  the  fruits  of  her  Revolution,  or  law  and 


40  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

order  be  established.  His  first  act  was  to  dispatch  Murat, 
then  a  major  of  chasseurs,  to  Sablons,  five  miles  off,  where 
the  cannon  were  posted.  The  Sectionaries  sent  a  stronger 
detachment  to  seize  these  cannon  immediately  afterwards  ; 
and  Murat,  who  passed  them  in  the  dark,  would  have  gone 
in  vain  had  he  received  his  orders  but  a  few  moments 
later,  or  had  he  been  less  active. 

When  the  reveille  sounded  on  the  morning  of  October 
4th,  over  32,000  National  Guards  advanced  by  different 
streets  to  the  siege  of  the  palace  ;  but  its  defense  was  in 
firmer  hands  than  those  of  Louis  XVI.-  the  hero  of  Toulon 
was  now  at  the  helm. 

At  the  Church  St.  Roche  the  column  which  was  ad- 
vancing along  the  Rue  St.  Honore,  found  a  detachment 
of  Napoleon's  troops  drawn  up  in  line  with  two  cannon  to 
dispute  their  passage.  It  is  unknown  which  side  began  the 
firing,  but  in  an  instant  Napoleon's  artillery  swept  the 
streets  and  lanes, scattering  grape-shot  among  the  National 
Guards,  and  producing  such  confusion  that  they  were  soon 
compelled  to  give  way.  The  first  shot  was  a  signal  for 
opening  all  the  batteries  which  Bonaparte  had  established, 
the  quays  of  the  Seine  opposite  the  Tuileries  being  com- 
manded by  his  guns  below  the  palace  and  on  the  bridges. 

In  less  than  an  hour  the  action  was  over.  The  insur- 
gents fled  in  all  directions,  leaving  the  streets  covered  with 
the  dead  and  wounded.  The  troops  of  the  Convention 
then  marched  into  the  various  Sections,  disarmed  the  ter- 
rified inhabitants,  and  before  nightfall  everything  was 
quiet.  The  sun  went  down  as  calmly  over  the 
helpless  city  as  though  nothing  had  happened.  That  same 
evening  the  theatres  were  opened  and  illuminated,  and 
there  were  general  rejoicings  on  almost  every  hand. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  41 

Napoleon's  star  rose  that  night  above  the  horizon  ;  all 
Paris  rushed  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  young  commander, 
and  for  many  years  afterwards  France  continued  to  look 
to  him  for  protection, — and  not  in  vain. 

On  the  night  of  the  1 3th  Vendemiaire  Napoleon  wrote 
to  his  brother  Joseph,  saying:  "At  last  all  is  finished 
and  I  hasten  to  send  you  news  of  myself.  The  Royalists, 
formed  into  Sections,  were  becoming  daily  more  threaten- 
ing. The  Convention  gave  orders  for  the  disarmament  of 
the  L,epelletier  Section  which  resisted  the  troops.  Menou, 
who  commanded,  was,  it  is  said,  a  traitor,  and  was  imme- 
diately disgraced.  The  Convention  appointed  Barras  to 
command  the  armed  forces  ;  the  committee  named  me  to 
command  them  under  him.  We  placed  our  troops ; 
the  enemy  came  to  attack  us  at  the  Tuileries.  We  killed 
many  of  them,  and  lost  thirty  killed  and  sixty  wounded  of 
our  men.  We  have  disarmed  the  Sections,  and  all  is  peace 
again.  As  usual  I  am  unhurt.  P.  S.  Fortune  is  on  my 
side.     I^ove  to  Eugenie  and  Julie." 

Within  five  days  from  the  defeat  of  the  Sections  Napo- 
leon was  named  second  in  command  of  the  Army  of  the 
Interior,  and  shortly  afterwards  Barras,  finding  his  duties 
as-  director  sufiicient  to  occupy  his  time,  gave  up  the  com- 
mand to  his  ' '  little  Corsican  officer. ' ' 

After  his  inauguration  as  general  of  the  armed  force  of 
Paris,  Bonaparte  waited  on  each  of  the  five  directors. 
While  on  a  visit  to  CarUot  a  celebrated  writer  was  there  by 
invitation, — it  being  presentation  day, — and  as  the  young 
commander  entered,  was  singing  at  the  piano  forte  accom- 
panied by  a  young  lady.  The  entrance  of  Napoleon,  then 
a  short,  well-made,  olive-complexioned  youth,  amidst  five 
or  six  tall  young  men  who  seemed  to  pay  him  the  greatest 


42  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

attention,  was  a  very  surprising  contrast,  and  made  some- 
thing of  a  stir. 

On  Bonaparte's  entrance  Carnot  bowed  witli  an  air  of 
perfect  ease  and  self-possession,  and  as  he  passed  by  the 
author  the  latter  inquired  the  host  who  the  gentlemen 
were. 

The  director  answered :  ' '  The  general  of  the  armed  force 
of  Paris  and  hi& aides-de-camp." 

"What  is  his  name?"  said  the  author. 

"  Bonaparte." 

"  Has  he  any  military  skill?" 

"So  it  is  said." 

"What  has  he  ever  done  to  render  himself  conspicuous?' ' 

' '  He  is  the  oflficer  who  commanded  the  troops  of  the 
Convention  on  the  Thirteenth  Vendemiaire. "  (Day  of 
the  defeat  of  the  Sections). 

A  shade  passed  over  the  visage  of  the  inquirer,  who 
happened  to  be  one  of  the  electors  of  the  Vendemiaire, and 
he  retired  to  one  of  the  dark  corners  to  observe  the  new 
visitor  in  thoughtfulness  and  in  silence.  Carnot  then  took 
occasion  to  predict  that  the  young  general  would  soon  take 
another  step  to  fame  and  glory. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  a  lady  asked  Napoleon: 
' '  How  could  you  fire  thus  mercilessly  upon  your  coun- 
trymen ?' ' 

"A  soldier,"  he  replied  calmly,  "  is  only  a  machine  to 
obey  orders  !" 

A  few  years  before,  while  at  a  party  given  in  the  draw- 
ing rooms  of  M.  Neckar,  a  celebrated  financier,  the  Bishop 
of  Autun  commended  Fox  and  Sheridan  for  having 
asserted  that  the  French  army, by  refusing  to  obey  the  or- 
ders of  their  superiors  to  fire  upon  the  populace,  had  set  a 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  43 

glorious  example  to  all  the  armies  of  Europe  ;  because,  by 
so  doing,  they  had  shown  themselves  that  men, by  becom- 
ing soldiers, did  not  cease  to  be  citizens. 

"Excuse  me,  if  I  venture  to  interrupt  you;  "said 
Napoleon  quickly  ^  *  'but  as  I  am  an  officer,  I  must  claim 
the  privilege  of  expressing  my  sentiments.  I  sincerely 
believe  that  a  strict  discipline  in  the  army  is  absolutely 
necessary  for  the  safety  of  our  constitutional  government 
and  for  the  maintenance  of  order.  Nay,  if  our  troops  are 
not  compelled  unhesitatingly  to  obey  the  commands  of 
the  executive,  we  shall  be  exposed  to  the  blind  fury  of 
democratic  passions  which  will  render  France  the  most 
miserable  country  on  the  globe  !" 

The  action  of  the  Assembly  in  placing  Napoleon  in 
command  of  the  troops  in  Paris  had  caused  his  name  to 
appear  frequently  in  the  newspapers,  and  thenceforth  it 
emerged  from  obscurity.  As  commander  his  first  act  was 
to  intercede  for  and  gain  the  acquittal  of  Menou,  his  pre- 
decessor, who  was  then  in  prison,  principally  because  of  his 
failure  to  put  down  the  rioters. 

Bonaparte  now  began  to  hold  military  levees,  at  one  of 
which  an  incident  occurred  which  gave  at  once  a  new 
turn  in  his  mode  of  life,  and  a  fresh  impetus  to  the  advance 
of-his  fortunes.  A  beautiful  boy  about  twelve  years  old 
appeared  before  Napoleon  and  said  :  "  My  name  is  Eu- 
gene Beauharnais.  My  father.  Viscount,  and  a  General 
of  the  Republican  armies,  has  died  on  the  guillotine,  and 
I  am  come  to  pray  you,  sir,  to  give  me  his  sword."  Bon- 
aparte caused  the  request  to  be  complied  with,  and  the  tears 
of  the  boy,  as  he  received  and  kissed  the  relic,  excited  the 
commander's  interest.  The  next  day  the  youth's  mother, 
Josephine  Beauharnais,    came  to  thank  Napoleon  for  his 


44  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

kind  treatment  of  her  son,  and  her  beauty  and  singular 
gracefulness  of  address  made  a  strong  impression 
upon  him.  Some  time  later  he  offered  Josephine  his 
hand ;  she,  after  some  hesitation,  accepted  it,  and  the 
young  general  by  his  marriage,  which  was  celebrated  on 
March  5th,  1796,  thus  cemented  his  favorable  connection 
with  the  society  of  the  IyUxembourg,and  in  particular,  with 
Tallien  and  Barras,  at  that  time  the  most  powerful  men 
in  France. 

The  first  meeting  with  Eugene,  and  its  influence  upon 
Napoleon's  marriage  with  Josephine,  has  been  sometimes 
questioned  by  historians,  many  of  whom  have  seemingly 
neglected  the  Exile's  own  verification  of  the  story  at  St. 
Helena,  in  which,  after  relating  the  incident  of  Josephine's 
visit,  he  said  to  Dr.  O'Meara  :  "I  was  much  struck  with 
her  appearance  (Josephine's),  and  still  more  with  her 
esprit.  This  first  impression  was  daily  strengthened,  and 
marriage  was  not  long  in  following." 

Tranquility  was  now  restored  in  Paris,  and  the  Directors 
had  leisure  to  turn  their  attention  to  the  affairs  of  the  Army 
of  Italy,  which  was  then  in  a  most  confused  and  unsatis- 
factory condition.  They  determined  to  place  it  under  it  a 
new  general,  and  Bonaparte,  then  but  twenty-six  years  of 
age,  was  appointed  to  the  command  of  the  Army  of  Italy. 
It  is  said  that  when  the  command  was  given  Napoleon  by 
Carnot  (grandfather  of  the  late  Sadi-Carnot,  president  of 
the  present  French  Republic) ,  the  latter  told  him  it  was 
to  the  command  of  men  alone  that  he  could  be  appointed, 
the  troops  being  destitute  of  everything  but  arms.  Bona- 
parte replied,  that  provided  he  would  let  him  have  men 
enough,  that  it  was  all  he  wanted;  he  would  answer  for  the 
rest,  a  promise  that  was  soon  fulfilled,  for  instead  of  an 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  45 

army  wanting  everything,  it  became,  at  the  enemy's  ex- 
pense, one  of  the  best  appointed  in  Europe. 

It  was  afterwards  a  matter  of  dispute  between  Carnot 
and  Barras  as  to  which  of  them  had  first  proposed  his 
appointment  to  this  command.  It  is  admitted  in  one  of 
Josephine's  letters  that  Barras  had  promised  to  procure  the 
position  for  Bonaparte  before  his  marriage  took  place 

One  of  the  Directors  hesitated  and  said  to  Napoleon, 
' '  You  are  too  young. ' ' 

"  In  a  year,"  he  answered,  "  I  shall  be  either  old  or 
dead  !" 


II 

BONAPARTE'S  CAMPAIGN  IN  ITAI,Y,  1796-7 

When  Napoleon  set  out  from  Paris  on  the  21st  of  March 
1796,  to  take  command  of  the  Army  of  Italy,  after  a 
honeymoon  of  but  three  days,  he  traversed  France  with 
th^  swiftness  of  a  courier,  turning  aside  but  a  few  hours 
at  Marseilles  with  his  mother  and  family,  whom  he  was 
now  able  to  provide  for  in  an  adequate  manner.  His 
letters  to  Josephine  were  full  of  passionate  expressions  of 
tenderness, and  regret  at  their  separation.  But  after  paying 
his  tribute  to  the  affections,  his  heart  was  speedily  filled 
with  exultation  and  triumph.  For  the  first  time  he  was 
chief  in  command;  the  power  within  him  was  now  free  to 
direct  his  actions,  unhampered  by  the  restraint  he  had  so 


46  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

long  felt  in  the  capital.  He  was  extremely  anxious  to 
commence  the  career  to  which  Fate  called  him,  by  placing 
himself  at  the  head  of  the  Army  of  Italy  at  once. 

It  would  not  be  difficult  to  imagine  with  what  delight 
this  young  general — then  scarcely  twenty-six  years  old — 
advanced  to  an  independent  field  of  glory  and  conquest, 
confident  in  his  own  powers,  and  in  the  perfect  knowledge 
of  the  country  which  he  had  previously  acquired.  He 
had  under  his  command  such  men,  already  distinguished 
in  war  by  success  and  bravery^  as  :  Augereau,  Massena, 
Serrurier,  Joubert,  lyannes,  Murat,  I^a  Harpe,  Stengel  and 
Kilmaine,  all  of  whom  were  astonished  at  the  youthful 
appearance  of  their  new  commander. 

It  was  not  without  some  discontent  that  the  old  generals 
beheld  a  young  man,  lately  their  inferior,  taking  the  com- 
mand over  their  heads, — to  which  each  supposed  he  had  a 
prior  claim,  atid  reaping  the  benefits  of  a  plan  of  operations 
they  did  not  imagine  to  have  originated  with  himself.  As 
he  rode  along  the  ranks  the  soldiers  observed  that  he  did 
not  sit  well  on  horseback,  and  complained  that  a  "  mere 
boy"  had  been  sent  to  command  them.  The  young 
general,  however,  soon  obtained  that  respect  for  his 
character,  which  had  been  denied  to  his  physical  constitu- 
tion. The  firmness  he  exhibited,  soon  put  a  stop  to  the 
insubordination  which  had  prevailed  in  the  army  ;  and, 
even  before  they  had  conquered  under  him,  the  troops 
became  as  submissive  as  at  any  subsequent  period,  when 
his  character  was  fully  established. 

Some  years  before,  when  Bonaparte  was  conversing  at 
Toulon  with  M.  de  Volney,  the  well-known  Corsican 
traveler  and  literary  man,  at  a  dinner  given  to  the  two 
friends  by  Turreau,  then  in  command  of  the  military  force 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  47 

at  Nice,  a  campaign  in  Italy  was  suggested.  After  the 
dessert  was  brought  in  Napoleon  saidtoTurreau:  "Don't 
you  think  its  altogether  too  bad  to  have  io;ooo  men  lying 
idle  here  at  Nice  when  the  Republic  could  make  such 
excellent  use  of  them  in  Italy  ?' ' 

' '  Possibly, ' '  replied  Turreau,  ' '  but  we  can  do  nothing; 
we  have  no  order  to  move  from  the  Committee  of  Public 
Safety." 

"  Then,"  said  Napoleon,  "  it  is  your  duty  to  make  the 
committee  ashamed  of  its  inactivity. ' ' 

' '  What  would  you  do  if  you  could  act  as  you  pleased  ?' ' 
asked  Turreau.  Napoleon  promised  to  give  a  reply  the 
next  evening.  At  the  time  fixed  he  came  prepared  with 
a  complete  plan  of  campaign  written  out  and  classified 
under  seventeen  heads.  It  involved  the  invasion  and 
conquest  of  Italy  on  almost  the  same  lines  that  he  was  now 
about  to  undertake,  and  the  outgrowth  partially  of  that 
meeting,  for  Turreau  forwarded  the  plan  to  the  Committee 
of  Public  Safety  at  Paris  on  condition  that  it  be  put  in  the 
hands  of  Carnot,  in  whose  judgment  Napoleon  had  con- 
fidence. Carnot  looked  over  the  plan  and  was  delighted. 
He  was  unable  to  secure  immediate  action,  but  two  years 
later,  when  the  invasion  of  Italy  was  determined  upon,  he 
had  sufiicient  influence  to  see  that  Napoleon  was  put  in 
charge  of  it. 

Bonaparte  arrived  at  the  headquarters  of  the  army  at 
Nice  on  the  27th  of  March,  1796.  The  French  Army  of 
Italy,  which  amounted  to  31,000  available  men,  had  en- 
dured great  hardships  and  privations,  were  destitute  of 
shoes,  clothing,  and  almost  everything  which  their  comfort 
demanded.  The  cavalry  Was  wretchedly  mounted  and 
they  were  very  deficient  in  artillery.     To  silence  their  com- 


48  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

plaints,  and  reconcile  them  to  their  situation,  as  well  as  to 
endear  them  to  himself ,  Napoleon  lived  familiarly  with  his 
soldiers,  participated  in  their  hardships  and  privations,  and 
redressed  many  of  their  grievances .  "My  brave  fellows , ' ' 
he  said  to  them  on  one  occasion,  while  endeavoring 
to  revive  their  spirits  ;  ' '  although  you  suffer  great  priva- 
tions, you  have  no  reason  to  be  dissatisfied  ;  everything 
yields  to  power;  if  we  are  victorious,  the  provisions  and  the 
supplies  of  the  enemy  become  ours  ;  if  we  are  vanquished, 
we  have  already  too  much  to  lose. ' ' 

The  allies,  Austrian  and  Sardinian,  were  a  greatly 
superior  force,  numbering  as  they  did  80,000  men,  were 
well  equipped  with  supplies,  and  occupied  in  their  own,  or 
a  friendly  country,  all  the  heights  and  passes  of  the  Alps. 
Berthier,  then  on  Napoleon's  staff  as  major-general,  took 
great  pleasure  in  showing  as  a  curiosity  in  after  years  a 
general  order  by  which  three  louis-d'or  were  granted  as  a 
great  supply  for  an  outfit  to  each  general  of  division,  and 
dated  on  the  ve:ry  day  of  the  victory  at  Albinga. 

On  the  8th  of  April  Napoleon  wrote  to  the  Directory  : 
"  I  found  this  army,  not  only  destitute,  but  without  disci- 
pline ;  their  insubordination  and  discontent  were  such 
that  the  malcontents  had  formed  a  party  for  the  Dauphin, 
and  were  singing  songs  opposed  to  the  tenets  of  the  Rev- 
olution. You  may,  however,  rest  assured  that  peace  and 
order  will  be  re-established;  by  the  time  you  receive  this 
letter,  we  shall  have  come  to  an  engagement." 

It  was  under  such  circumstances  that  Bonaparte  proposed 
forcing  a  passage  to  Italy  and  converting  the  richest 
territory  of  the  enemy  into  the  theatre  of  war.  *  *  Sol- 
diers," said  he  to  his  destitute  and  disheartened  men, 
"you  are  naked  and  ill-fed ;  the  Republic  owes  you  much., 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  49 

but  she  has  nothing  with  which  to  pay  her  debts.  Your 
endurance  and  patience  amidst  these  barren  rocks  deserves 
admiration  ;  but  it  brings  you  no  glory.  I  come  to  lead 
you  into  the  most  fertile  plains  the  sun  shines  upon.  Rich 
provinces,  and  great  cjties  will  soon  be  in  your  power  ; 
there  you  will  reap  "riches  and  glory — they  will  be  at 
your  disposal.  Soldiers  of  Italy!  with  such  a  prospect 
before  you,  can  you  fail  in  courage  and  perseverance?" 

This  was  the  commander's  first  address  to  the  army, 
and  the  words  of  encouragement  which  he  gave  them  shot 
martial  enthusiasm  through  their  veins  like  electric  fire. 
Under  the  incompetent  management  of  Scherer  the  army, 
which  had  obtained  some  success  against  the  Austrian 
general,  De  Vins,  had  been  without  glory,  although  their 
,  battalions  were  headed  by  valiant  officers  whose  leader 
had  neglected  to  improve  his  good  fortune.  The  French 
soldiers  were  thirsting  for  a  commander  capable  of  leading 
them  on  to  fame  and  glory,the  conquest  of  Italy,  therefore, 
seemed  reserved  for  General  Bonaparte. 

Napoleon's  system  of  tactics,  although  then  unknown 
even  to  his  officers,  were  a  fixity  with  him.  They  appear 
to  have  been  grounded  on  the  principle  that  ' '  the  com- 
mander will  be  victorious  who  assembles  the  greatest 
number  of  forces  upon  the  same  point  at  the  same  moment, 
notwithstanding  an  inferiority  of  numbers  to  the  enemy 
when  the  general  force  is  computed  on  both  sides. ' '  He 
eminently  possessed  the  power  of  calculation  and  combi- 
nation necessary  to  exercise  these  decisive  manoeuvres. 

Napoleon's  career  of  victory  began,  as  it  continued,  in 
defiance  of  the  established  rules  of  warfare,  and  what  distin- 
guished him  above  all  his  contemporaries  was  his  ability 
to  convert  the  most  unfavorable  circumstances  into  the 


50  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

means  of  success.  He  perceived  that  the  time  was  come  for 
turning  a  new  leaf  in  the  history  of  war.  With  such  numbers 
of  troops  as  the  impoverished  RepubHccordd  afford  him,  he 
soon  saw  that  no  considerable  advantages  could  be  obtained 
against  the  vast  and  highly-disciplined  armies  of  Austria 
and  her  allies  unless  the  established  rules  of  etiquette  and 
strategy  were  abandoned.  It  was  only  by  such  rapidity 
of  motion  as  should  utterly  surprise  the  superior  numbers 
of  his  adversaries  that  he  could  hope  to  concentrate  the 
entire  energy  of  a  small  force,  such  as  he  commanded, 
upon  some  point  of  a  much  greater  force,  and  thus  defeat 
them.  He  knew  he  would  have  to  deal  with  veteran  sol- 
diers and  experienced  generals — men  who  had  learned  the 
art  of  war  before  he  was  born.  He  therefore  resolved  that 
every  movement  should  be  made  with  celerity,  and  every 
blow  be  leveled  where  it  was  least  expected. 

To  effect  such  rapid  marches  as  he  had  determined  upon, 
it  was  necessary  that  the  soldiery  should  make  up  their 
minds  to  consider  tents  and  baggage  as  idle  luxuries  ;  and 
that  instead  of  a  long  and  complicated  chain  of  reserves 
and  stores,  they  should  dare  to  rely  wholly  for  the  means 
of  sustenance  on  the  countries  into  which  their  venture- 
some leader  might  conduct  them. 

The  objects  of  Napoleon's  expedition  were  to  compel 
the  king  of  Sardinia,  who  maintained  a  powerful  army  in 
the  field,  to  abandon  the  alliance  of  Austria  ;  to  compel 
Austria  to  concentrate  her  forces  in  her  Italian  provinces, 
thus  obliging  her  to  withdraw  them  from  the  bank  of  the 
Rhine  where  they  had  long  hovered.  It  was  hoped,  also, 
to  humble  the  power  of  the  Vatican  and  break  the  prestige 
of  its  Jesuitical  diplomacy  forever.  He  had  as  yet 
achieved  no  fame  in  the  field  and  not  a  general  in  Europe 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  51 

would  have  blamed  him  if  he  had  only  succeeded  in  hold- 
ing the  territory  of  Nice  and  Savoy,  which  France  had 
already  won. 

Napoleon's  plan  of  reaching  the  fair  regions  of 
Italy  differed  from  that  of  all  former  conquerors  ;  they  had 
uniformly  penetrated  the  Alps  at  some  point  of  access  in 
that  mighty  range  of  mountains  ;  he  judged  that  the  same 
end  might  be  accomplished  more  easily  by  advancing  along 
the  narrow  strip  of  comparatively  level  country  that  inter- 
venes between  those  enormous  barriers  and  the  shores  of 
the  Mediterranean  Sea,  and  forcing  a  passage  at  the  point 
where  the  last  or  southern  extremity  of  the  Alps  melt,  as 
it  were,  into  the  first  and  lowest  of  the  Appenine  range. 

No  sooner  did  he  begin  to  concentrate  his  troops  towards 
this  region  than  Beaulieu,  the  Austrian  general,  took 
measures  for  protecting  Genoa  and  the  entrance  of  Italy 
with  a  powerful,  disciplined  and  well-appointed  army. 
He  posted  himself  with  one  column  at  Voltri,  a  town  on 
the  sea  some  ten  miles  west  of  Genoa  ;  D'  Argenteau,  with 
another  column  occupied  the  heights  of  Montenotte,  while 
the  Sardinians,  led  by  General  Colli,  formed  the  right  of 
the  line  at  Ceva.  This  disposition  was  made  in  compli- 
ance with  the  old  system  of  tactics  ;  but  it  was  powerless 
before  new  strategy.  The  French  could  not  advance 
towards  Genoa  but  by  confronting  some  one  of  the  three 
armies  and  these  Beaulieu  supposed  were  too  strongly 
posted  to  be  dislodged. 

On  the  morning  of  the  12th  of  April,  1796,  when 
D' Argenteau  advanced  from  Montenotte  to  attack  the 
column  of  Rampon,  he  found  that  by  skillful  manoeuvres 
during  the  night  Napoleon  had  completely  surrounded 
him — a  man  who  had  fancied  there  was  nothing  new  to 
be  done  in  warfare. 


52  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

On  the  previous  day  the  Austrians  had  driven  in  all  the 
outposts  of  the  French  and  appeared  before  the  redoubt  of 
Montenotte,  This  redoubt,  the  last  of  the  intrenchments, 
was  defended  by  1,500  men  commanded  by  Rampon  who 
made  his  soldiers  take  an  oath,  during  the  heat  of  the 
attack,  to  defend  it  or  perish  in  the  intrenchments,  to 
the  last  man.  The  repeated  assaults  of  the  French  were 
without  avail,  their  advancement  was  checked  and  they 
were  kept  the  whole  night  at  the  distance  of  a  pistol  shot, 
400  men  being  killed  by  the  fire  of  their  musketry  alone. 

At  daybreak,  the  following  morning,  Bonaparte  then 
being  at  the  head  of  the  French  forces,  and  having  intro- 
duced two  pieces  of  cannon  into  the  redoubt  during  the 
night,  the  action  was  recommenced  with  great  vigor  and 
with  varying  success.  The  contest  had  continued  for 
sometime,  when  Bonaparte,withBerthierand  Massena  ap- 
pearing suddenly  with  the  centre  and  left  wing  of  the  army 
upon  the  rear  and  flank  of  the  enemy,  A  e  at  once 
commenced  a  furious  attack,  filled  them  with  terror  and 
confusion,  and  decided  the  fate  of  the  day.  D' Argenteau, 
who  commanded  the  rear, had  fought  gallantly,  but  seeing 
that  to  continue  the  battle  would  only  end  in  total  destruc- 
tion, he  fled,  leaving  his  colors  and  cannon,  a  thousand 
killed  and  two  thousand  prisoners. 

Thus  was  the  centre  of  the  great  Austrian  army  com- 
pletel}^  routed  before  either  its  commander-in-chief  at  the 
left,  or  General  Colli  at  the  right,  knew  that  a  battle  had 
begun.  It  was  from  this  battle,  the  first  of  Napoleon's 
victories,  that  the  French  Bmperor  told  the  Bmperor  of 
Austria,  some  years  later,  that  he  dated  his  nobility. 
"Ancestors?"  said  Napoleon,  "I,  sir,  am  an  ancestor 
myself  ;  my  title  of  nobility  dates  from  Montenotte  ! ' ' 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  53 

This  victory  enabled  the  French,  under  La  Harpe,  to 
advance  to  Cairo,  and  placed  them  on  that  side  of  the  Alps 
which  slopes  toward  Lombardy. 

Beaulieu  now  fell  back  on  Dego,  where  he  could  open 
his  communication  with  Colli,  who  had  retreated  to 
Millessimo,  a  small  town  about  nine  miles  from  Dego. 
Here  the  two  commanders  hoped  to  unite  their  forces. 
They  were  soon  strongly  posted,  and  dispatching  couriers 
to  Milan  for  reinforcements,  intended  to  await  their 
arrival  before  risking  another  battle.  It  was  their  object 
to  keep  fast  in  these  positions  until  succor  could  come 
from  lyombardy;  but  Napoleon  had  no  intention  of  giving 
them  such  a  respite  ;  his  tactics  were  not  those  of  other 
generals. 

The  morning  after  the  victory  of  Montenotte  Bonaparte 
dispatched  Augereau  to  attack  Millessimo  ;  Massena  to 
fall  on  Dego,  and  I^a  Harpe  to  turn  the  flank  of  Beaulieu. 

Massena  carried  the  heights  of  Biestro  at  the  point  of  the 
bayonet,  while  La  Harpe  dislodged  the  Austrian  general 
from  his  position,  which  separated  him  hopelessly  from 
the  Sardinian  commander  and  put  him  to  precipitate  flight. 
By  these  movements  Bonaparte  was  in  such  a  position, 
that,  though  they  had  not  traversed,  his  army  had  at  all 
events  scaled  the  Alps. 

Meanwhile  Augereau  had  seized  the  outposts  of  Millessimo 
and  cut  off  Pro  vera,  with  2,000  Austrians  who  occupied 
an  eminence  upon  the  mountain  of  Cossaria,  from  the  main 
body  of  Colli' s  army.  Provera  took  refuge  in  a  ruined 
castle  which  he  defended  with  great  bravery,  hoping  to 
receive  assistance  from  Colli. 

The  next  morning  Napoleon,  who  had  arrived  in  the 
night,  forced  Colli  to  battle  and   compelled  him  to  retreat 


54  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

towards  Ceva.  Provera  imitated  the  gallant  example  of 
Colonel  Rampon  in  his  defense,  but  not  with  the  same 
success.  He  was  compelled  to  surrender  his  sword  to 
Bonaparte  at  discretion,  after  a  loss  of  10,000  in  killed  and 
prisoners,  twenty-two  cannon  and  fifteen  standards. 
The  French  found  on  the  summit  of  the  Alps  every  species 
of  ammunition  and  other  necessities  which  the  celerity  of 
their  march  had  prevented  them  from  carrying. 

Dego,  situated  at  the  summit  of  the  Alps,  secured  the 
entrance  of  the  French  into  Italy,  cut  off  the  communi- 
cations between  the  Austrian  and  Sardinian  armies,  and 
placed  the  conqueror  in  a  situation  to  crush  them  in 
succession  one  after  the  other.  Beaulieu,  fully  sensible  of 
the  danger  of  his  situation,  collected  the  best  troops  in  his 
army,  and  at  break  of  day  on  the  15th  of  April,  retook 
Dego  at  the  head  of  7,000  men 

The  Ahstrians  stood  two  attacks  headed  by  Napoleon, 
but  at  the  third  Causse  rushed  forward,  holding  his  plumed 
hat  on  the  point  of  his  sword,  and  Dego  was  soon  again 
in  possession  of  the  French.  For  this  piece  of  gallantry 
he  immediately  received  the  rank  of  brigadier-general. 
Here  also,  I^annes,  who  lived  to  be  a  marshal  of  the 
Empire,  first  attracted  the  notice  of  Napoleon,  and  was 
promoted  from  lieutenant-colonel  to  colonel.  The  triumph, 
however,  was  purchased  with  the  life  of  the  brave  General 
Causse.  He  was  carried  out  of  the  melee  mortally 
wounded.  •  Napoleon  passed  near  him  as  he  lay .  "Is  Dego 
retaken  ?"  asked  the  dying  ofiicer.  "  It  is  ours,"  replied 
Napoleon.  ' '  Then  long  live  the  Republic  ! ' '  cried  Causse , 
"  I  die  content. " 

Hotly  pursued  by  the  victors,  Colli  rallied  his  fugitives 
at  Mondovi,  where  they  again  yielded  to   the   irrisistible 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  55 

onset  of  the  French,  the  Sardinian  commander  leaving  his 
best  troops,  baggage  and  cannon  on  the  field.  The  action 
was  a  most  severe  one  in  which,  among  others,  the  French 
general,  Stengel,  a  brave  and  excellent  oflEicer,  was  killed, 
and  the  cavalry  would  have  been  overpowered  but  for  the 
desperate  valor  of  Murat. 

The  Sardinians  lost  ten  stands  of  colors  and  fifteen 
hundred  prisoners,  among  whom  were  three  generals. 
The  Sardinian  army  had  now  ceased  to  exist,  and  the 
Austrians  were  flying  to  the  frontiers  of  I^ombardy. 

Napoleon,  following  up  his  advantage,  entered  Cherasco, 
a  strong  place  about  teii  miles  from  Turin,  as  a  conqueror. 
Here  he  dictated  the  terms  by  which  the  Sardinian  king 
could  still  wear  a  crown.  From  the  castle  where  he  stood, 
and  looking  off  on  the  garden-fields  of  lyombardy — ^which 
had  gladdened  the  eyes  of  so  many  conquerors — with  the 
Alps  behind  him,  glittering  in  their  perennial  snows, 
Napoleon  said  to  his  officers  :  * '  Hannibal  forced  the  Alps — 
we  have  turned  them."  To  his  soldiers,  whom  he 
addressed  in  a  proclamation,  he  said:  "In  fifteen  days 
you  have  gained  six  victories,  taken  twentj^-one  stands  of 
colors,  fifty-five  pieces  of  cannon,  several  fortresses,  and 
conquered  the  richest  part  of  Piedmont :  you  have  made 
15,000  prisoners,  killed  or  wounded  upwards  of  10,000 
men.  Hitherto  you  have  fought  for  barren  rocks,  rendered 
famous  by  your  valor,  but  useless  to  your  country.  Your 
services  now  equal  those  of  the  victorious  army  of  Holland 
and  the  Rhine.  You  have  provided  yourselves  with 
everything  of  which  you  were  destitute.  You  have  gained 
battles  without  cannon  !  passed  rivers  without  bridges  ! 
made  forced  marches  without  shoes  !  bivouacked  without 
strong    liquors   and   often   without    bread  !    Republican 


56  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

phalanxes,  Soldiers  of  Liberty,  only,  could  have  endured 
all  this.  Thanks  for  your  perseverance  !  If  your  con- 
quest of  Toulon  presaged  the  immortal  campaign  of  1793, 
your  present  victories  presage  a  still  nobler.  But,  soldiers, 
you  have  done  nothing  while  so  much  remains  to  be  done; 
neither  Turin  or  Milan  are  yours.  The  ashes  of  the  Con- 
querors of  the  Tarquins  are  still  trampled  by  the  assassins 
of  Basse ville." 

To  the  Italians  Napoleon  said  :  "People  of  Italy  !  The 
French  army  comes  to  break  your  chains.  The  people  of 
France  are  the  friends  of  all  nations — confide  in  them. 
Your  property,  your  religion  and  your  customs  shall  be 
respected.  We  make  war  with  those  tyrants  alone  who 
enslave  you. "  - 

The  French  soldiers,  flushed  with  victory,  were  eager 
to  continue  their  march,  and  the  people  of  Italy  hailed 
Napoleon  as  their  deliverer.  The  Sardinian  king  did  not 
long  survive  the  humiliation  of  the  loss  of  his  crown — he 
died  of  a  broken  heart  within  a  few  days  after  he  signing 
the  treaty  of  Cherasco. 

In  the  meantime  the  couriers  of  Napoleon  were  almost 
every  hour  riding  into  Paris  with  the  news  of  his  victories, 
and  five  times  in  six  days  the  Representatives  of  France 
had  decreed  that  the  Army  of  Italy  deserved  well  of  their 
country. 

Murat  was  sent  to  Paris  bearing  the  news  of  the  capit- 
ulation of  the  king  of  Sardinia,  and  twenty-one  stands  of 
colors.     His  arrival  caused  great  joy  in  the  capital. 

The  consummate  genius  of  this  brief  campaign  could 
not  be  disputed,  and  the  modest  language  of  the  young 
general's  dispatches  to  the  Directory  lent  additional  grace 
to  his  fame.  All  the  eyes  of  Europe  were  fixed  in  admi= 
ration  on  his  career. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  57 

In  less  than  a  month's  campaign  Napoleon  laid  the 
gates  of  Italy  open  before  him  ;  reduced  the  Austrians  to 
inaction  ;  utterly  destroyed  the  Sardinian  king's  army, 
and  took  two  great  fortresses  called  ' '  the  keys  to  the 
Alps!" 

To  effect  the  rapid  movements  required  for  such  results, 
everything  was  sacrificed  that  came  in  the  way,  not  only 
on  this  occasion,  but  on  every  other.  Baggage,  stragglers, 
the  wounded,  the  artillery — all  were  left  behind,  rather 
than  the  column  should  fail  to  reach  the  destined  place  at 
the  destined  time.  Napoleon  made  no  allowance  for 
accidents  or  impediments.  Things  until  now  reckoned 
essential  to  an  army  were  dispensed  with ;  and,  for  the 
first  time,  troops  were  seen  to  take  the  field  without  tents, 
camp  equipage,  magazines  of  provisions,  and  military 
hospitals.  Such  a  system  naturally  aggravated  the 
horrors  of  war.  The  soldiers  were,  necessarily,  marauders, 
and  committed  terrible  excesses  at  this  first  stage  of  the 
campaign  ;  but  every  effort  was  made,  and  with  much 
success,  to  prevent  this  evil  after  conquest  had  put  the 
means  of  regular  supply  within  the  power  of  the  com- 
mander-in-chief. The  wounded  were  frequently  left 
behind  for  want  of  the  means  of  conveyance.  According 
to.  one  authority,  the  loss  by  the  disorders  inseparable 
from  this  means  of  war  was  four  times  as  great  as  by  the 
fire  or  the  sword  of  the  enemy. 

The  army,  nevertheless,  adored  its  fortunate  general, 
and  it  still  doted  upon  him  even  when  undeceived  respect- 
ing his  providence  for  it.  "To  be  able  to  solve  this 
enigma, ' '  says  General  Foy,  ' '  it  was  requisite  to  have 
known  Napoleon,  the  life  of  camp  and  of  glory  ,  and, 
above  all,  one  must  have  a   French  head  and  heart." 


58  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

With  the  sufferings  of  the  army,  he  never  failed  to  show 
an  active  sympathy  when  it  did  not  tend  to  the  compromise 
of  his  plans.  The  hours,  too,  spent  by  Napoleon  on 
the  field  after  a  battle,  endeared  him  to  his  followers. 
He  visited  the  hospitals  in  person  and  made  his  officers, 
after  his  example,  take  the  utmost  interest  in  this  duty. 
His  hand  was  applied  to  the  wounds  ;  his  voice  cheered 
the  sick.  All  who  recovered  could  relate  indi\ddual  acts 
of  kindness  experienced  from  him  by  themselves  or  their 
comrades. 

It  was  at  this  period  that  a  medal  of  Napoleon  was 
struck  at  Paris  as  conqueror  of  Montenotte.  The  face 
is  extremely  thin,  with  long,  straight  hair.  On  the 
reverse,  a  figure  of  Victory  is  represented  flying  over  the 
Alps,  bearing  a  palm  branch,  a  wreath  of  laurel  and  a 
drawn  sword.  It  was  the  first  of  the  splendid  series 
designed  by  Denon  to  record  the  victories  and  honors  of 
France's  great  warrior. 

Napoleon  determined  to  advance  without  delay,  giving 
Tuscany,  Venice,  and  the  other  Italian  States  no  time  to 
take  up  a  hostile  attitude.  After  accomplishing  so  much, 
a  general  of  less  enterprise  might  have  thought  it  right  to 
rest  awhile  and  wait  for  reinforcements  before  attempting 
further  conquest,  but  not  so  with  Napoleon.  The  French 
army,  to  which  recruits  were  now  flocking  from  every 
hospital  and  depot  witnin  reach,  was  ordered  to  prepare 
for  instant  motion. 

It  was  after  one  of  the  successful  movements  of  this  period 
that  an  old  Hungarian  officer  was  brought  prisoner  to 
Bonaparte,  who  entered  into  conversation  with  him,  and 
among  other  matters  asked  what  he  thought  of  the  state 
of   the  war.     ' '  Nothing, ' '   replied  the   prisoner,  who  did 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  59 

not  know  he  was  addressing  the  commander-in-chief, 
' '  nothing  can  be  worse.  Here  is  a  young  man  who  knows 
absolutely  nothing  of  the  regular  rules  of  war  ;  to-day  he 
is  in  our  rear,  to-morrow  on  our  flank,  the  next  day  again 
in  our  front.  Such  violations  of  the  principles  of  the  art 
of  war  are  intolerable  sir,  and  we  do  not  know  how  to 
proceed  !" 

To  secure  the  route  to  Milan  it  was  necessary  to  drive 
the  Austrians  from  the  banks  of  the  Adda,  behind  which 
they  had  retired  after  a  heavy  loss  at  Fombio.  I^annes 
upon  that  occasion  gave  proofs  of  his  astonishing  intre- 
pidity ;  at  the  head  of  a  single  battalion,  he  attacked 
between  seven  and  eight  thousand  Austrians,  and  not 
content  in  causing  their  flight,  he  pursued  them  ten  miles, 
following  the  trot  of  their  cavalry  on  foot. 

Having  collected  an  immense  quantity  of  artillery  and 
the  main  division  of  his  army  at  a  narrow  wooden  bridge 
erected  across  this  stream  at  the  town  of  lyodi.  General 
Beaulieu  awaited  the  arrival  of  the  French,  confident  of 
defending  the  passage  of  the  Adda  and  arresting  their 
progress.  Beaulieu  had  placed  a  battery  of  thirty  cannon 
so  as  to  completely  sweep  every  plank  of  the  bridge. 
Had  he  removed  the  structure,  which  was  about  500  feet 
in  .length,  when  he  changed  his  headquarters  to  the  east 
bank  of  the  river,  he  might  have  made  the  passage  much 
more  formidable  than  even  his  cannon  made  it. 

Well  aware  that  his  conquest  would  never  be  consolidated 
till  the  Austrian  army  was  totally  vanquished,  and 
deprived  of  all  its  Italian  possessions,  Bonaparte  hastened 
to  pursue  the  enemy  to  lyodi.  Coming  up  on  the  loth  of 
May,  he  easily  drove  the  rear-guard  of  the  Austrian  army 
before  him  into  the  town,  but  found  his  further  progress 
5 


6o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

threatened  by  the  tremendous  fire  of  thirty  cannon  stationed 
at  the  opposite  end  of  the  bridge  so  as  to  sweep  it  com- 
pletely. The  whole  body  of  the  enemy's  infantry  drawn 
up  in  a  dense  line,  supported  this  appalling  disposition  of 
the  artillery. 

Bonaparte's  first  care  was  to  place  as  many  guns  as  he 
could  get  in  direct  opposition  to  the  Austrian  battery. 
He  was  determined  that  no  obstacle  should  oppose  his 
victorious  career,  and  at  once  resolved  to  pass  the  bridge. 

Kxposed  to  a  shower  of  grape-shot  from  the  enemy's 
batteries,  Napoleon  at  last  succeeded  in  planting  two 
pieces  of  cannon  at  the  head  of  the  bridge  on  the  French 
side,  and  to  prevent  the  enemy  from  destroying  it  a  column 
was  immediately  formed  from  the  troops  that  at  once 
appeared,  determined  to  carry  the  pass.  The  French  now 
commenced  a  fearful  cannonading.  Bonaparte  himself 
appeared  in  the  midst  of  the  fire,  pointing  with  his  own 
hand  two  guns  in  such  a  manner  as  to  cut  off  the  Aus- 
trians  from  the  only  path  by  which  they  could  have 
advanced  to  undermine  the  bridge. 

Observing,  meanwhile,  that  Beaulieu  had  removed  his 
infantry  to  a  considerable  distance  backwards,  to  keep 
them  out  of  the  range  of  the  French  battery,  Napoleon 
instantly  detached  General  Beaumont  and  his  cavalry, 
with  orders  to  gallop  out  of  sight,  ford  the  river, 
and  coming  suddenly  upon  the  enemy,  attack  them  in  the 
rear.  When  that  took  place  Napoleon  instantly  drew  up 
a  body  of  3,000  grenadiers  in  close  column  under  the 
shelter  of  the  houses,  and  bade  them  prepare  for  the 
desperate  attempt  of  forcing  a  passage  across  the  nar- 
row bridge,  in  the  face  of  the  enemy's  thickly-planted 
artillery. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  6i 

A  sudden  movement  in  the  flanks  of  the  enemy  now 
convinced  Napoleon  that  his  cavalry  had  arrived  and 
charged  the  enemy's  flank,  and  he  instantly  gave  the 
word.  In  a  moment  the  brave  grenadiers  wheeled  to  the 
left  and  were  at  once  upon  the  bridge,  rushing  forward  at 
a  charge  step,  and  shouting  :  ' '  Vive  la  Republique  !' ' ; 
but  the  storm  of  grape-shot  from  the  enemy's  guns  checked 
them  for  a  moment.  It  was  a  very  sepulchre  of  death  and 
a  burning  furnace  of  destruction  pouring  out  its  broadsides 
of  fire  in  defense  of  its  position  ;  a  hundred  brave  men 
fell  dead.  The  advancing  column  faltered  under  the 
redoubled  roar  of  the  guns  and  the  rattle  of  grape- 
shot. 

I^annes,  Napoleon,Berthier  and  L' AUemand  now  hurried 
to  the  front,  rallied  and  cheered  the  men,  and  as  the  column 
dashed  across  and  over  the  dead  bodies  of  the  slain  which 
covered  the  passageway,  and  in  the  face  of  a  tempest  of 
fire  that  thinned  their  ranks  at  every  step,  the  leaders 
shouted  :   "  Follow  your  generals,  my  brave  fellows  !" 

I^annes  was  the  first  to  reach  the  other  side.  Napoleon 
himself  being  second. 

The  Austrian  artillerymen  were  bayoneted  at  their  guns 
before  the  other  troops,  whom  Beaulieu  had  removed  too 
far -back  in  his  anxiety  to  avoid  the  French  battery,  could 
come  to  their  assistance.  Beaumont  pressing  gallantly 
with  his  horse  upon  the  flank,  and  Napoleon's  infantry 
forming  rapidly  as  they  passed  the  bridge,  and  charging 
on  the  instant,  the  Austrian  line  at  once  became  involved 
in  inextricable  confusion.  The  contest  was  almost 
instantly  decided  ;  the  whole  line  of  Austrian  artillery  was 
carried  ;  their  order  of  battle  broken  ;  their  troops  routed 
and  put  to  flight. 


62  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  slaughter  of  Austrians  amounted  to  vast  numbers, 
while  the  French  lost  but  200  men.  Thus  did  Bonaparte 
execute  with  such  rapidity  and  consequently  with  so  little 
loss  ' '  the  terrible  passage,  "as  he  himself  called  it,  * '  of 
the  bridge  of  Lodi."  It  is  justly  called  one  of  the  most 
daring  achievements  on  record. 

The  victory  of  Lodi  had  a  great  influence  on  Napoleon's 
mind.  He  declared  subsequently  that  neither  his  success 
in  quelling  the  '  'Sections, ' '  nor  his  victory  at  Montenotte, 
made  him  regard  himself  as  anything  superior  ;  but  that 
after  lyodi,  for  the  first  time  the  idea  dawned  upon  him 
that  he  would  one  day  be  "  a  decisive  actor, "  as  he  him- 
self put  it,  on  the  stage  of  the  military  and  political  world. 
That  he  was  a  fatalist  is  well-known,  it  being  a  frequent 
expression  with  him  that  "  every  bullet  is  marked." 

On  this  occasion  the  soldiers  conferred  on  him  the  nick- 
name of  "lyittle  Corporal."  The  original  cause  of  the 
appellation,  as  applied  to  Bonaparte,  has  been  related  by 
Napoleon  himself.  He  says  that  when  he  commanded 
near  the  Col  di  Tende  the  army  was  obliged  to  traverse  a 
narrow  bridge,  on  which  occasion  he  gave  directions  that 
no  women  should  be  allowed  to  accompany  it,  as  the 
service  was  particularly  difficult,  and  required  that,  the 
troops  should  be  continually  on  the  alert;  to  enforce 
such  an  order  he  placed  two  captains  on  the  bridge  with 
instructions,  on  pain  of  death,  not  to  permit  a  woman  to 
pass.  He  subsequently  repaired  to  the  bridge  himself,  for 
the  purpose  of  ascertaining  whether  his  orders  were  being 
scrupulously  obeyed,  when  he  found  a  crowd  of  women 
assembled,  who,  as  soon  as  they  saw  him,  began  to  revile 
him,  exclaiming  :  ' '  Oh,  then,  petit  corporal,  it  is  you  who 
have  given  orders  not  to  let  us  pass  !" 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  63 

Some  miles  in  advance  Napoleon  was  surprised  to  see  a 
considerable  number  of  women  with  the  troops.  He 
immediately  ordered  the  two  captains  to  be  put  under 
arrest  and  brought  before  him,  intending  to  have  them 
tried  immediately.  They  protested  their  innocence, 
asserting  that  no  women  had  crossed  the  bridge.  Bona- 
parte caused  some  of  the  females  to  be  brought  before 
him,  and  learned  with  astonishment,  from  their  own 
confession,  that  they  had  emptied  some  casks  of  provisions 
and  concealed  themselves  therein,  by  which  means  they 
had  passed  over  unperceived. 

After  every  battle  the  oldest  soldiers  convened  a  council 
in  order  to  confer  a  new  rank  on  their  young  general, 
who,  on  making  his  appearance,  was  saluted  by  his  latest 
title.  Bonaparte,  therefore,  was  nominated  corporal  at 
lyodi,  and  sergeant  2X  Castiglione.  It  was  "lyittle  Corporal, ' ' 
however,  that  the  soldiery  constantly  applied  to  him  ever 
afterwards. 

The  fruits  of  this  splendid  victory  at  Lodi  were  twenty 
pieces  of  cannon,  and  between  two  and  three  thousand 
killed,  wounded  and  prisoners,  and  the  loss  by  the  enemy 
of  an  excellent  line  of  defense. 

When  Europe  heard  of  the  battle  they  named  the  con- 
queror ' '  The  Hero  of  Lodi. ' ' 

Beaulieu  contrived  to  withdraw  a  part  of  his  troops, 
and  gathering  the  scattered  fragment  of  his  force  together, 
soon  threw  the  line  of  the  Mincio,  a  tributary  of  the  Po, 
between  himself  and  his  enemy.  The  great  object,  how- 
ever, he  had  attained, — he  was  still  free  to  defend  Mantua. 

The  French  following  up  their  advantages  at  Lodi, 
pursued  the  Austrians  with  great  celerity.  They  advanced 
to  Pizzighitone,  which  immediately  surrendered.     Push- 


64 


MILITARY  CAREER  OF 


ing  on  to  Cremona  they  met  witli  like  success,  and  the 
vanguard,  having  taken  the  route  to  Milan,  entered  this 
city  on  the  14th  of  May,  having  on  their  march  received 
the  submission  of  Pavia,  where  they  found  most  of  the 
magazines  of  the  Austrian  army.  The  tri-colored  flag 
now  waved  in  triumph  from  the  extremity  of  thelvake  of 
Como  and  the  frontiers  of  the  country  to  the  gates  of 
Parma. 

The  Austrians  having  evacuated  Milan,  when  the  French 
prepared  to  enter  it,  a  deputation  of  the  inhabitants  laid 
the  keys  of  its  gates  at  their  feet.  A  few  days  later, 
although  the  archduke  had  fled  from  his  capital,  over- 
whelmed with  sorrow  and  mortification,  the  people  collected 
in  vast  multitudes  to  witness  the  entry  of  the  French, 
whom  they  hailed  as  their  deliverers.  The  imperial  arms 
were  taken  down  from  the  public  buildings  and  at  the 
ducal  palace   this  humorous  advertisement  was  posted  up: 


'A  House  to  Rent. 

Inquire  for  the  keys  at 

Citizen  Sai^icetti's, 

The  French  Commissioner." 


The  entry  of  Bonaparte  into  Milan  under  a  triumphal 
arch  and  surrounded  by  the  grenadiers  of  lyodi,  among 
whom  some  generals  were  conspicuous,  was  eminently 
brilliant.  The  splendid  carriages  of  the  nobility  and 
aristocracy  of  the  capital  went  out  to  meet  and  salute  him 
as  the  "  Deliverer  of  Italy,"  and  returned  in  an  immense 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  65 

cavalcade,  amidst  the  shouts  and  acclamations  of  an  inntnn- . 
erable  multitude,  and  accompanied  by  several  bands  play- 
ing patriotic  marches,  the  procession  stopping  at  the  palace 
of  the  archduke,  where  Bonaparte  was  to  take  up  his 
headquarters.  The  ceremonies  of  the  day  were  concluded 
by  a  splendid  ball  at  which  the  ladies  showed  their  Repub- 
lican feeling  by  wearing  the  French  national  colors  in 
every  part  of  their  dress.  On  the  same  day  Bonaparte 
entered  Milan  the  treaty  with  the  king  of  Sardinia  and 
the  Directory  was  signed  at  Paris. 

Napoleon  now  addressed  himself  again  to  his  soldiers, 
reminding  them  of  their  victories  and  responsibilities  yet 
to  come.  "To  you,  soldiers,"  he  said,  "  will  belong  the 
immortal  honor  of  redeeming  the  fairest  portion  of  Europe. 
The  French  people,  free  and  respected  by  the  whole  world, 
shall  give  to  Europe  a  glorious  peace,  which  shall  indem- 
nify it  for  all  the  sacrifices  it  has  borne  the  last  six  years. 
Then  by  your  own  firesides  you  shall  repose,  and  your 
fellow -citizens,  when  they  point  out  any  one  of  you,  shall 
say  :    '  He  bei.onge;d  to  The  Army  of  Itai^y  !'  " 

From  that  period  the  Army  of  Italy  was  no  longer  a  tax 
upon  France,  but  on  the  contrary  was  a  great  source  of 
revenue  to  her,  and  assisted  in  paying  her  other  armies.  Six 
weeks  after  the  opening  of  the  campaign,  independent  of 
ten  million  of  francs  placed  at  the  disposal  of  the  Directory, 
Bonaparte  sent  upwards  of  two  hundred  thousand  francs 
to  the  Army  of  the  Alps,  and  a  million  to  the  Army  of  the 
Rhine, thereby  paving  the  way  to  his  future  greatness. 

Bonaparte  remained  but  six  days  in  Milan  ;  he  then 
proceeded  to  pursue  Beaulieu,  who  had  planted  the  remains 
of  his  army  behind  the  Mincio.  The  Austrian  general 
had  placed  his  left  on  the  great  and  strong  city  of  Mantua, 


66  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

-which  had  been  tenned  "  the  citadel  of  Italy,"  and  his 
right  at  Peschiera,  a  well-known  Venetian  fortress.  The 
Austrian  veteran  occupied  one  of  the  strongest  positions 
that  it  is  possible  to  imagine,  and  Bonaparte  hastened  once 
more  to  dislodge  him. 

The  French  Directory,  meanwhile,  had  begun  to  enter- 
tain suspicion  as  to  the  ultimate  designs  of  their  young 
general,  whose  success  and  rising  fame  had  already  reached 
so  astonishing  a  height.  That  they  were  exceedingly 
jealous  of  him  there  seems  to  be  no  doubt,  and  they  deter- 
mined to  check,  if  they  could,  the  career  of  a  man  of  whom 
they  seemed  to  be  in  fear,  Bonaparte  was  therefore  ordered 
to  take  half  his  army  and  lead  it  against  the  pope  and  the 
king  of  Naples,  and  leave  the  other  half  to  terminate  the 
conquest  with  Beaulieu  at  Mantua,  under  the  orders  of 
Kellerman.  He  answered  by  offering  to  resign  his  com- 
mand. "  One  half  of  the  Army  of  Italy  cannot  sufEice  to 
finish  the  matter  with  the  Austrians,"  said  he.  "It  is 
only  by  keeping  my  force  entire  that  I  have  been  able  to 
gain  so  many  battles  and  to  be  now  in  Milan.  You  had 
better  have  one  bad  general  than  two  good  ones  !" 

The  Directory  did  not  dare  to  persist  in  displacing  the 
chief  whose  riame  was  considered  as  the  pledge  of  victory, 
and  he  continued  to  assume  the  entire  command  of  the 
Army  of  Italy. 

Another  unlooked-for  occurrence  delayed  for  a  few  days 
the  march  upon  Mantua.  The  success  of  the  French  and 
their  exactions  where  victorious,  had  fostered  the  ire  of  a 
portion  of  the  populace  throughout  I^ombardy.  Reports 
of  new  Austrian  levies  being  poured  down  the  passes  of 
Tyrol  were  spread  and  believed.  Insurrections  against 
the  conqueror  now  took  place  in  various  districts,  placing 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  67 

thirty  thousand  men  in  arms.  At  Pavia  the  insurgents 
were  entirely  triumphant ;  they  seized  the  town  and  com- 
pelled the  French  garrison  to  surrender.  This  flame,  had 
it  been  suffered  to  spread,  threatened  immeasurable  evil 
to  the  French  cause. 

I^annes  instantly  marched  to  Binasco,  stormed  the  place, 
burnt  it  and  put  many  of  the  insurgents  to  the  sword. 
Napoleon  appeared  before  Pavia,  blew  the  gates  open,  took 
possession  and  later  caused  the  leaders  to  be  executed. 
At  lyUgo,  where  another  insurrection  took  place,  the 
leaders  were  tried  by  court  martial  and  condemned. 

These  examples  quelled  the  insurrectionists,  and  the 
French  advanced  on  the  Mincio,  Bonaparte  made  such 
disposition  of  his  troops  that  Beaulieu  believed  he  meant  to 
cross  that  river, if  he  could,  at  Peschiera.  Meanwhile  the 
French  had  been  preparing  to  cross  at  another  point,  and 
on  the  30th  of  May  actually  forced  the  passage  of  the 
Mincio,  not  at  Peschiera,  but  further  down  at  Borghetto. 
The  Austrian  garrison  at  this  point  in  vain  destroyed  one 
arch  of  the  bridge.  Bonaparte  quickly  supplied  the  breach 
with  planks,  and  his  men,  flushed  with  so  many  victories, 
charged  with  a  fury  not  to  be  resisted.  While  the  French 
were  laboring  to  repair  the  bridge,  under  the  fire  of  the 
enemey's  batteries,  impatient  of  delay,  fifty  grenadiers 
threw  themselves  into  the  river,  holding  their  muskets 
over  their  heads  with  the  water  up  to  their  chins  ,  General 
Gardanne,  a  grenadier  in  courage  as  well  as  in  stature, 
being  at  their  head.  The  Austrians  who  were  nearest, 
recollecting  the  terrible  column  at  lyodi,  fled.  When  the 
bridge  was  repaired  the  French  entered  Vallegio,  where 
Beaulieu' s  headquarters  had  been  stationed  a  short  time 
previous.     The  latter  was  obliged  to  abandon  the  Mincio 


68  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

as  he  had  the  Adda  and  the  Po,  and  to  take  up  the  new 
line  of  the  Adige. 

The  left  line  of  the  Austrian  force,  learning  from  the 
cannonade  that  the  French  were  at  Borghetto,  hastened  to 
ascend  the  Mincio  with  a  view  of  assisting  in  the  defense 
of  the  division  engaged  with  the  enemy.  They  arrived 
too  late,  however,  to  be  of  assistance,  as  the  commander 
at  Borghetto  had  retreated  before  they  arrived.  They 
came,  however,  unexpectedly,  and  at  a  moment  when 
Bonaparte  and  a  few  friends,  believing  the  work  of  the 
day  to  be  over  and  the  village  safe  from  the  enemy,  were 
about  to  sit  down  to  dinner,  as  they  thought,  in  security. 
Sebetendorfif,  who  commanded  the  division,  came  up  rap- 
idly into  the  village,  but  with  no  idea  what  a  prize  was 
within  his  grasp.  Bonaparte's  attendants  had  barely  time 
to  shut  the  gates  of  the  inn,  and  alarm  their  chief  by  the 
cry,  "To  arms!"  They  defended  the  house  with  obsti- 
nate courage  while  Bonaparte  threw  himself  on  horseback 
and  galloping  out  by  a  back  passage,  effected  the  narrowest 
of  escapes,  proceeding  at  full  speed  to  join  Massena's 
forces. 

It  was  shortly  after  this  that  Bonaparte  met  with  an 
experience  that  gave  him  the  idea  of  the  ' '  Imperial  Guard 
of  Napoleon"  and  which  throughout  his  military  career 
he  ever  afterwards  maintained  as  a  personal  guard.  It 
was  the  duty  of  this  body,  consisting  of  veterans  who 
should  number  at  least  ten  years  of  active  service,  to 
remain  alwaj^s  near  the  person  of  the  commander-in-chief, 
and  who  were  only  brought  into  action  when  important 
movements  or  desperate  emergencies  required  their  utmost 
energies.  They  were  placed  under  the  command  of 
Bessieres  at  this  time,  and  were  known  as  "  I^e  Corps  de 
Guides." 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  69 

During  the  same  campaign  Bonaparte  again  narrowly 
escaped  being  taken  a  prisoner.  Wurmser,  who  had  been 
compelled  to  throw  himself  into  Mantua, having  suddenly- 
debouched  on  an  open  plain,  learned  from  an  old  woman 
that  not  many  minutes  before  the  French  general,  with 
only  a  few  followers,  had  stopped  at  her  door  and  fled  at 
the  sight  of  the  Austrians.  Wurmser  immediately  dis- 
patched parties  of  cavalry  in  all  directions  to  whom  he 
gave  orders  that  if  they  came  up  with  Napoleon  he  should 
not  be  killed  or  harmed  ;  fortunately,  however,  for  the 
French  commander,  destiny  and  the  swiftness  of  his  horse 
saved  him. 

In  their  different  engagements,  the  grenadiers  had 
learned  to  laugh  and  sport  at  death  ;  they  despised  the 
Austrian  cavalry  and  nothing  could  equal  their  intrepidity 
but  the  gaiety  with  which  they  performed  their  forced 
marches,  singing  alternately  songs  in  praise  of  their  coun- 
try and  of  love.  Instead  of  sleeping  they  amused  them- 
selves during  most  of  the  night,  each  telling  a  tale,  or 
forming  his  own  plans  of  operation  for  the  following 
day. 

Sebetendorff  was  soon  assaulted  by  a  French  column  and 
retreated,  after  Beaulieu's  example,  on  the  line  of  the 
Adige.  The  Austrian  commander  had,  in  effect,  aband- 
oned for  a  time  the  open  country  of  Italy.  He  now  lay 
on  the  frontier,  between  the  vast  tract  of  rich  province, 
which  Napoleon  had  conquered,  and  the  Tyrol.  Mantua, 
which  possessed  immense  natural  advantages,  and  into 
which  the  retreating  general  had  flung  a  garrison  of  full 
fourteen  thousand  men,  was,  in  truth,  the  last  and  only 
Italian  possession  of  the  imperial  crown,  which,  as  it 
seemed,  there  might  be  a  possibility  of  saving. 


70  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Beaulieu  anxiously  awaited  the  approach  of  new  troops 
from  Germany,  to  attempt  the  rehef  of  this  great  city ; 
and  Bonaparte,  eager  to  anticipate  the  efforts  of  the 
imperial  government,  sat  down  immediately  before  it. 

Mantua  lies  on  an  island,  being  cut  ofE  on  all  sides  from 
the  main  land  by  the  branches  of  the  Mincio,  and  approach- 
able only  by  five  narrow  causeways  of  which  three  were 
now  defended  by  strong  and  regular  fortresses  or  intrenched 
camps  ;  the  other  two  by  gates,  drawbridge  and  batteries. 
The  garrison  was  prepared  to  maintain  the  position,  was 
well-nigh  impregnable  and  the  occupants  awaited  the  hour 
to  discover  whether  Napoleon  possessed  any  new  system 
of  attack  capable  of  shortening  the  usual  operations  of  a 
siege  as  effectually  as  he  had  already  done  by  the  march 
and  the  battle. 

It  was  a  matter  of  high  importance  that  Napoleon 
should  reduce  this  place  quickly,  for  a  large  army  under 
Field- Marshal  Wurmser,one  of  the  most  able  and  experi- 
enced of  the  Austrian  generals,  was  about  to  enter  Italy. 
His  commencement  gave  cause  for  much  alarm  to  those 
within  the  fortress.  Of  the  five  causeways,  by  .sudden 
and  overwhelming  assaults,  he  obtained  four  ;  the  garrison 
was  cut  off  from  the  main  land  except  at  the  fifth  cause- 
way, the  strongest  of  them  all,  named  from  a  palace  near 
it,  "  lya  Favorita."  It  seemed  necessary,  however,  in 
order  that  this  blockade  might  be  complete,  that  the  Vene- 
tian territory,  lying  immediately  behind  Mantua,  .should 
be  occupied  by  the  French,  and  the  claim  of  neutrality 
was  not  allowed  to  interfere  with  Napoleon's  plans. 

"You  are  too  weak,"  said  Bonaparte,  when  a  Venetian 
envoy  reached  his  headquarters,  ' '  to  enforce  neutrality 
on  hostile  nations  such  as  France  and  Austria.      Beaulieu 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  71 

did  not  respect  your  territory  when  his  interest  bade  him 
violate  it ;  nor  shall  I  hesitate  to  occupy  whatever  falls 
within  the  line  of  the  Adige. ' ' 

Garrisons  were  placed  forthwith  in  Verona  and  all  the 
strong  places  of  that  domain.  Napoleon  now  returned  to 
Milan  to  transact  important  business,  leaving  Serrurier 
and  Vaubois  to  blockade  Mantua. 

The  king  of  Naples,  utterly  confounded  by  the  success 
of  the  French,  was  now  anxious  to  secure  peace  on  what- 
ever terms  proposed,  and  Bonaparte,  knowing  that  it 
would  result  in  a  withdrawal  of  some  valuable  divisions 
from  the  army  of  Beaulieu,  arranged  an  armistice  which 
was  soon  followed  by  a  formal  peace,  and  the  Neapolitan 
troops,  abandoning  the  Austrian  general,  began  their 
march  to  the  south  of  Italy.  This  was  followed  by 
peace  arrangements  with  the  Pope  of  whom  Na- 
poleon demanded,  and  obtained,  as  a  price  of  the 
brief  respite  from  invasion,  a  million  sterling,  one 
hundred  of  the  finest  pictures  and  statues  in  the  papal 
gallery,  a  large  supply  of  military  stores  and  the  cession 
of  Ancona,  Ferrara  and  Bologna,  with  their  respective 
domains.  The  siege  of  the  citadel  of  Milan,  rigorously 
pressed,  was  at  length  successful.  The  garrison  capitu- 
lated on  the  29th  of  June,  and  by  the  i8th  of  July,  one 
hundred  and  forty  pieces  of  cannon  were  before  Mantua. 

The  French  general  had  stripped  Austria  of  all  her 
Italian  possessions  except  Mantua,  and  the  tri-color  was 
waving  from  the  Tyrol  to  the  Mediterranean.  Napoleon 
was  now,  in  effect,  master  of  Italy.  Future  success  seemed 
to  him  to  be  assured,  although  the  French  Directory  was 
with  difficulty  persuaded  to  let  him  follow  the  course  he 
had  adopted  for  himself. 


72  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  cabinet  of  Vienna  at  last  resolved  upon  sending 
stronger  reinforcements  to  the  Italian  frontier,  and  Bona- 
parte was  now  recalled  from  Milan  to  the  seat  of  war  to 
defend  himself  against  them.  What  the  Austrian  court 
now  feared  was  that  Napoleon,  who  had  already  annihi- 
lated her  Italian  army,  and  had  wrested  from  her  the 
Italian  domains,  would  soon  march  into  the  heart 
of  her  Empire  and  dictate  a  peace  under  the  walls  of 
her  capital.  All  Italy  was  now  t-ubdued  or  in  alliance 
with  the  French  Republic  except  Mantua. 

Beaulieu,  who  had  been  so  thoroughly  routed  by  Napo- 
leon, was  to  be  no  longer  trusted.  Finding  himself 
incompetent  to  withstand  a  general  * '  whose  mistress  was 
glory  and  whose  companion  was  Plutarch  ' '  while  travers- 
ing the  Tyrol  with  the  wrecks  of  his  army,  forwarded  a 
letter  to  Vienna  which  fully  displayed  the  irritated  feelings 
of  the  veteran  commander  at  this  time.  He  said- :  "I 
hereby  make  known  to  you  that  I  have  only  20,000  men 
remaining,  while  the  enemy's  forces  exceed  60,000.  I 
further  apprise  you,  that  it  is  my  intention  to  retreat 
to-morrow, — the  next  day — the  day  following — nay,  every 
day, — even  to  Siberia,  should  they  pursue  me  so  far.  My 
age  accords  me  liberty  to  be  thus  explicit.  Hasten  to 
ratify  peace,be  the  conditions  what  they  may ! ' '  Wurmser, 
whose  reputation  was  of  the  best,  and  who  was  older  than 
Beaulieu  but  not  less  obstinate,  was  sent  to  replace  him, 
and  30,000  men  were  drafted  from  the  armies  on  the 
Rhine  charged  with  restoring  the  fortunes  of  Austria 
beyond  the  Alps.  Wurmser' s  orders,  too,  were  to 
strengthen  himself,  on  his  march,  by  whatever  recruits  he 
could  raise  among  the  warlike  and  loyal  population  of 
the  Tyrol. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  73 

When  he  fixed  his  headquarters  -at  Trent,  Wurmser 
mustered  in  all  80,000  men,  while  Napoleon  had  but 
30,000 — ^not  60,000  as  Beaulieu  had  stated — to  hold  a 
wide  country  in  which  abhorrence  of  the  French 
cause  was  now  prevalent,  to  keep  the  blockade  of 
Mantua,  and  to  oppose  this  fearful  odds  of  numbers  in  the 
field.  The  French  commander  was  now,  moreover,  to 
act  on  the  defensive,  while  his  adversary  assmned  the  more 
inspiriting  character  of  the  invader. 

Wurmser  was  unwise  enough  to  divide  his  magnificent 
army  into  three  separate  columns,  which,  united,  Napoleon 
never  could  have  met ;  but  each  of  which  was  soon  succes- 
sively broken  and  captured.  Melas  with  the  left  wing  was  to 
march  down  the  Adige  and  expel  the  French  from  Verona; 
Quasdonowich  with  the  right  wing  followed  the  valley  of 
the  Chiese  towards  Brescia,  to  cut  off  Napoleon's  retreat 
on  Milan  ;  Wurmser  himself  led  the  centre  down  the  left 
shore  of  I^ake  Guarda  towards  the  besieged  castle  of 
Mantua. 

The  eye  of  Napoleon,  who  had  hitherto  been  watching 
with  the  intensity  of  an  eagle's  gaze  all  the  movements  of 
his  antagonist,  now  saw  the  division  of  Quasdonowich  sep- 
arated from  the  centre  and  left  wing,  and  he  flew  to  the 
encounter,  although  he  was  obliged  to  draw  off  his  army 
from  the  siege  of  Mantua,  something  which  very  few  gen- 
erals would  have  done.  On  the  night  of  July  31st,  he 
buried  his  cannon  in  the  trenches  and  intentionally  marked 
his  retreat  with  every  sign  of  precipitation  and  alarm. 
Before  morning  the  whole  French  army  had  disappeared 
from  Mantua  and  by  a  forced  march  regained  possession 
of  Brescia.  Napoleon  was  hurrying  forward  to  attack  the 
right  wing  of  the  Austrian  army  before  it  could  effect  a 
junction  with  the  central  body  of  Wurmser. 


74  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

A  courier  could  hardly  have  borne  to  Quasdonowich 
the  news  of  his  raising  the  siege  of  Mantua  before  Napoleon 
had  attacked  and  overwhelmed  him,  and  he  was  glad  to 
save  his  shattered  forces  by  falling  back  on  the  Tj^rol. 

This  ill-omened  beginning  aroused  the  ire,  and  quick- 
ened the  evolutions  of  Wurmser,  and  falling  on  the  rear- 
guard of  Massena  under  Pigeon,  and  Augereau  under 
Vallette,  the  one  abandoned  Castiglione  and  the  other 
retired  on  Lonato.  These  inconsiderable  Austrian  suc- 
cesses were  obtained  by  good  generalship,  and  Wurmser 
now  attempted  to  open  a  communication  with  his  defeated 
lieutenant.  His  columns  were  weakened  by  extending 
the  line,  and  Massena  at  once  hurled  two  strong  columns 
on  lyonato,  retaking  it,  and  throwing  the  Austrian  forces 
into  utter  confusion. 

The  battle  of  lyonato  occurred  on  the  3d  of  August 
(1796)  .  At  daybreak  the  whole  of  the  French  army  was 
in  motion,  Augereau  moving  with  the  right  wing  towards 
Castiglione.  General  Pigeon ,  who  commanded  the  French 
advance  guard,  was  taken  prisoner  with  three  pieces  of 
cannon  ;  when,  at  the  moment  the  Austrians  were  extend- 
ing their  line,  Napoleon  sent  forward  in  close  columns  the 
1 8th  and  32d  demi-brigades,  which  being  supported  by  a 
strong  reserve,  broke  the  enemy's  line  of  battle.  The 
artillery  and  prisoners  made  under  General  Pigeon,  were 
thus  retaken,  and  the  French  entered  lyonato. 

At  Castiglione  a  firm  stand  was  again  taken  by  the 
fleeing  Austrians,  but  Augereau  forced  the  position  against 
a  defense  double  in  numbers  and  for  which  he  was  afterward 
created  Duke  of  Castiglione  in  memory  of  his  exploit. 

On  that  day  the  Austrians  lost  twenty  pieces  of  cannon, 
from  three  to  four  thousand  men  killed  and  wounded,  and 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  75 

four  thousand  prisoners,  among  wliom  were  three  generals. 
Before  this  engagement  Napoleon  suddenly  found  himself 
placed  between  two  armies  each  of  which  was  more  num- 
erous than  his  own.  In  this  situation  of  affairs,  no  one  of 
his  generals  entertained  the  least  hope  ;  but  what  was  the 
astonishment  of  the  soldiers,  when  they  first  assembled  in 
presence  of  their  chief,  to  observe  no  alteration  in  his 
countenance.  ' '  Fear  nothing, ' '  said  the  commander  to 
them,  ' '  show  that  you  remain  unchanged  ;  preserve  your 
valor,  your  just  pride,  and  the  remembrance  of  your 
triumphs  ;  in  three  days  we  shall  retake  all  that  we  have 
lost.  Rely  on  me  !  You  know  whether  or  not  I  am  in 
the  habit  of  keeping  my  word. ' ' 

In  this  memorable  battle  Napoleon  raised  himself  to  an 
equality  with  the  greatest  generals.  Although  the  posi- 
tion in  which  he  was  placed  was  critical  to  an  eminent 
degree,  he  contrived  to  turn  all  the  success  gained  by 
Wurmser  to  the  advantage  of  the  French  army,  and  that 
by  the  mere  strength  of  his  genius  alone.  Junot  distin- 
guished himself  by  extraordinary  efforts  of  courage  in 
these  actions.  He  was  thus  mentioned  in  the  dispatch 
sent  by  Napoleon  to  the  Directory  after  the  victory  :  "I 
ordered  my  aide-de-camp,  General-of-Brigade  Junot,  to 
put  himself  at  the  head  of  my  company  of  Guides  to  pur- 
sue the  enemy  and  overtake  him  by  great  speed  at  Dezen- 
zano.  He  encountered  Colonel  Bender  with  a  party  of  his 
regiment  of  hussars,  whom  he  charged  ;  but  Junot,  not 
wishing  to  waste  his  time  by  charging  the  rear,  made  a 
detour  on  the  right,  took  the  regiment  in  front, — wounded 
the  colonel  whom  he  attempted  to  take  prisoner  when  he 
was  himself  surrounded, — and  after  having  killed  six  of 
the  enemy  with  his  own  hand,  was  cut  down  and  thrown 
into  a  ditch. ' ' 


76  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Austrians,  still  able  to  collect  25,000  men  and  a 
numerous  cavalry,  now  fled  again  in  all  directions  upon 
the  Mincio  where  Wumser  himself,  meanwhile,  had  been 
employed  in  revictualling  Mantua.  When  Wurmser 
reached  this  point  he  was  utterly  astounded  to  find  the 
trenches  abandoned  and  no  enemy  to  oppose.  One  of  the 
defeated  Austrian  divisions  wandering  about  without 
method  in  anxiety  to  find  their  commander  or  any  part  of 
his  army  that  was  still  in  the  field,  came  suddenly  on 
Lonato,  the  scene  of  the  recent  battle,  and  at  a  moment 
when  Napoleon  was  there  with  only  his  staff  and  Guard 
about  him.  He  was  not  aware  that  any  considerable 
body  of  the  enemy  remained  in  the  neighborhood,  and 
but  for  his  great  presence  of  mind  must  have  been  taken 
prisoner.  As  it  was,  he  turned  his  critical  position  into 
an  advantage.  The  ofiicer  who  had  been  sent  to  demand 
the  surrender  of  the  town  was  brought  blindfolded,  accord- 
ing to  custom  on  such  occasions,  to  his  headquarters. 
Bonaparte,  by  a  secret  sign,  caused  his  whole  staff  to  draw 
up  around  him,  and  when  the  bandage  was  removed  from 
the  messenger's  eyes,  exclaimed  to  him:  "What  means 
this  insolence  ?  Do  you  beard  the  French  general  in  the 
very  centre  of  his  army  ?  Go  and  tell  your  general  that  I 
give  him  eight  minutes  to  lay  down  his  arms ;  he  is  in 
the  midst  of  the  French  army,  and  if  a  single  gun  is  fired, 
I  will  cause  every  man  to  be  shot. ' '  The  ofiicer,  appalled 
at  discovering  in  whose  presence  he  stood,  returned  to  his 
comrades  with  Napoleon's  message. 

The  general  of  the  enemy's  column  now  made  his 
appearance,  stating  his  willingness  to  surrender  and  capit- 
ulate. "No"  replied  Bonaparte  with  energy,  "you 
are  all  prisoners  of  war. ' '      Seeing  the  Austrian  officers 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  77 

consulting  together  Napoleon  instantly  gave  orders  that 
the  artillery  should  advance  and  commence  the  attack. 
On  observing  this  the  general  of  the  enemy's  forces  ex- 
claimed, "We  all  surrender  at  discretion  !"  The  short- 
ness of  time  allowed  prevented  the  truth  from  being 
discovered,  and  they  gave  in  to  a  force  about  one-fourth 
of  their  own.  They  believed  that  lyonato  was  occupied  by 
the  French  in  numbers  that  made  resistance  impossible. 
When  the  four  thousand  men  had  laid  down  their  arms 
they  discovered  that  if  they  had  used  them  nothing  could 
have  prevented  Napoleon  from  being  taken  as  their  prize  ! 

Wurmser,  whose  fine  army  was  thus  being  destroyed  in 
detail,  now  collected  together  the  whole  of  his  remaining 
force,  and  advanced  to  meet  the  Conqueror.  He  had 
determined  on  an  assault  and  was  hastening  to  the  encoun- 
ter. They  met  between  L,onato  and  Castiglione,  and 
Wurmser  was  totally  defeated,  besides  narrowly  escaping 
being  himself  taken  a  prisoner.  He  was  pursued  into 
Trent  and  Roveredo,  the  positions  from  which  he  had  so 
lately  issued  confident  of  victory.  In  this  disastrous 
campaign  he  had  now  lost  forty  thousand  soldiers — half 
his  army — and  all  his  artillery  and  stores,  while  Bona- 
parte placed  his  own  loss  at  seven  thousand.  The  French 
soldiers  have  called  this  succession  of  victories  '  'the  cam- 
paign of  five  days."  The  rapid  marches  and  incessant 
fighting  had  exhausted  the  troops,  and  they  now  abso- 
lutely required  rest. 

During  the  exciting  days  while  the  campaign  with 
Wurmser  lasted.  Napoleon  never  took  off  his  clothes,  nor 
did  he  take  the  time  to  sleep  except  at  brief  intervals  ot 
less  than  an  hour.  His  exertions,  which  were  followed 
by  such  signal  triumphs,  were  such  as  to  demand  some 


78     ■  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

repose,  yet  he  did  not  pause  until  he  saw  Mantua  once 
more  completely  invested.  The  reinforcement  and  re  vic- 
tualling of  the  garrison  were  all  that  Wurmser  could  show 
in  requital  of  his  lost  artillery,  stores  and  forty  thousand 
men. 

While  Napoleon  was  giving  some  respite  to  his  wearied 
army  and  rendering  the  subjugation  of  Italy  complete, 
Austria  was  hurrying  a  new  army  to  the  relief  of  its  aged 
but  not  disheartened  marshal.  The  reinforcements  of 
twenty  thousand  fresh  troops  at  last  arrived,  and  Wurmser 
was  again  in  the  field  with  fifty  thousand  men — an  army 
vastly  larger  than  Napoleon's.  But  once  more  he  divided 
his  forces  and  again  each  division  was  to  be  cut  to  pieces. 
He  marched  thirty  thousand  men  to  the  relief  of  Mantua, 
and  left  Davidowich  at  Roveredo  with  twenty  thousand 
men  to  protect  the  passes  of  the  Tyrol.  The  two  Aus- 
trian divisions  were  now  separated  and  their  fate  was 
sealed. 

On  September  4,  by  the  most  rapid  marches  Europe 
had  ever  seen,  Napoleon,  having  penetrated  the  designs 
of  the  Austrian  general,  reached  Roveredo  where  Davido- 
wich was  intrenched  in  a  strong  position  before  the  city, 
covered  by  the  guns  of  the  Galliano  castle  overhanging 
the  town. 

The  camp  was  yielded  on  the  same  day  before  the  ter- 
rific charge  of  General  Dubois  and  his  hussars.  The 
latter,  though  mortally  wounded,  cheered  his  men  on 
with  his  dying  words,  and  as  he  fell  pressing  the  hand  of 
the  general-in-chief ,  said  :  ' '  Let  me  hear  the  shout  of 
victory  for  the  Republic  before  I  die. ' '  These  words  fired 
his  troops  with  deep  ardor,  and  they  drove  the  Austrians 
through  the  town  and  carried  the  frowning  heights  of  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  79 

castle  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet,  as  they  had  carried  the 
batteries  of  lyodi.  The  French  pursued  the  fleeing  Aus- 
trians  throughout  the  night  and  Wurmser  was  cut  off 
from  the  Tyrol. 

Scarcely  had  the  Austrian  commander  recovered  from 
his  surprise  at  hearing  of  the  overthrow  of  his  lieutenant 
at  Roveredo  before  Napoleon,  by  a  march  of  sixty  miles 
in  two  days,  descended  in  front  of  his  vanguard  at  Pri- 
molano  and  cut  it  to  pieces,  taking  four  thousand  prison- 
ers. The  same  night  Napoleon's  army  advanced  on 
Bassano  where  on  Sept.  8  Wurmser  made  his  last  stand 
with  the  main  body  of  his  army. 

While  Augereau  penetrated  the  town  on  his  left, 
Massena  entered  it  on  his  right,  seizing  the  cannon  that 
defended  the  bridge  on  the  Bretna  and  overthrowing  the 
old  grenadiers  who  attempted  to  cover  the  retreat  of  their 
general.  Five  thousand  prisoners,  five  standards,  thirty- 
five  pieces  of  cannon  with  their  caissons  fell  into  the  hands 
of  the  French,  and  Wurmser  himself  narrowly  escaped 
being  taken.  I^annes  seized  one  of  the  standards  with 
his  own  hands  ;  and,  inconsequence,  Bonaparte  demanded 
for  him  the  rank  of  general  of  brigade.  ' '  He  was, ' '  he 
said,  ' '  the  first  who  put  the  enemy  to  rout  at  Dego,  who 
passed  the  Po  at  Plaisance,  the  Adda  at  Iyodi,and  the  first 
to  enter  Bassano. ' ' 

The  number  of  the  dead  near  the  latter  place  was  con- 
siderable. Curious  to  ascertain  the  loss  of  the  enemy, 
Bonaparte  in  the  evening  rode  over  the  field  with  his  staff. 
when  his  notice  was  attracted  by  the  bowlings  of  a  dog 
that  seemed  to  increase  as  they  approached  the  spot  whence 
the  yells  proceeded.  "  Amidst  the  deep  silence  of  a  beau- 
tiful moon-light  night, ' '  said  Napoleon  some  years  later, 


.8o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

"  a  dog,  leaping  suddenly  from  beneath  the  clothes  of  his 
dead  master,  rushed  upon  us,  and  then  immediately 
returned  to  his  hiding-place,  howling  piteously.  He 
alternately  licked  his  master's  hand,  and  ran  toward  us, 
as  if  at  once  soliciting  aid  and  seeking  revenge.  Whether, 
owing  to  my  own  particular  turn  of  mind  at  the  moment, 
the  time,  the  place,  or  the  action  itself,  I  know  not,  but, 
certainly,  no  incident,  on  any  field  of  battle,  ever  produced 
so  deep  an  impression  on  me.  I  involuntarily  stopped  to 
contemplate  the  scene.  This  man,  thought  I,  has  friends 
in  the  camp,  or  in  his  company,  and  here  he  lies  forsaken 
by  all  except  his  dog.  What  a  lesson  Nature  presents 
here,  through  the  medium  of  an  animal.  What  a  strange 
being  is  man  !  And  how  mysterious  are  his  impress- 
sions  !  I  had,  without  emotion,  ordered  battles  which 
were  to  decide  the  fate  of  the  army  ;  I  beheld,  with 
tearless  eyes,  the  execution  of  those  operations  by  which 
numbers  of  my  countrymen  were  sacrificed  ;  and  here  my 
feelings  were  roused  by  the  bowlings  of  a  dog  !  Certainly, 
at  that  moment,  I  should  have  been  easily  moved  by  a 
suppliant  enemy.  I  could  very  well  imagine  Achilles  sur- 
rendering up  the  body  of  Hector  at  the  sight  of  Priam's 
tears. ' ' 

In  these  terrible  marches  Napoleon  endured  the  same 
privations  as  his  men  ; — baggage  and  staff  appointments 
were  unable  to  keep  up  with  such  rapid  movements. 
He  shared  his  bread  with  one  of  his  privates  who 
lived  to  remind  him  of  this  night  when  the  Repub- 
lican general  had  become  the  Emperor  of  France. 
It  was  during  Napoleon's  progress  through  Bel- 
gium in  1804,  while  reviewing  a  division  of  the 
army  that  he  was  visited    in  one   of  the  towns    by    a 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  8i 

soldier  of  the  fourth  regiment  of  infantry  who  stepped 
forward  and  thus  addressed  him  :  ' '  General,  in  the  year 
Five  of  the  French  Revolution,  being  in  the  valley  of  Bas- 
sano,  I  shared  with  you  my  ration  of  bread  when  you  were 
very  hungry  .  You  cannot  have  forgotten  the  circum- 
stance. I  request,  in  return,  that  you  provide  bread  for 
my  father  who  is  worn  with  age  and  infirmity  .  I  have 
received  five  wounds  in  the  service  and  was  made  corporal 
and  sergeant  on  the  field  of  battle.  I  hope  to  be  made  a 
lieutenant  on  the  first  vacancy. ' '  Napoleon  recollected 
the  soldier  and  immediately  acknowledged  the  reasonable- 
ness of  both  his  demands,  which  were  speedily  complied 
with. 

After  the  most  heroic  resistance  Wurmser  again  fled. 
Six  thousand  Austrians  laid  down  their  arms,  and  the 
commander  with  his  fleeing  forces  took  refuge  about  the 
middle  of  September  in  Mantua,  whither  they  were  pur- 
sued by  Napoleon's  cavalry. 

Wurmser  was  now  strictly  blockaded  within  the  citadel 
of  Mantua  with  sixteen  thousand  men.  These,  with  ten 
thousand  dispersed  in  the  Tyrol,  were  all  that  remained 
of  his  army  of  60,000  men  with  which  he  was  to  reconquer 
Italy.  He  had  also  lost  seventy-five  pieces  of  cannon, 
thirty  generals  and  twenty-two  stands  of  colors.  Marmont, 
one  of  Napoleon's  aids-de-camp,  was  sent  with  these 
latter  trophies  to  the  Directory  at  Paris.  Perceiving  that 
Wurmser  now  intended  to  avoid  a  general  action  Napoleon 
returned  to  Milan,  leaving  General  Kilmaine  to  conduct 
the  blockade. 

While  at  Milan,  Napoleon  had  just  mounted  his  horse 
one  morning,  when  a  dragoon,  bearing  important  dis- 
patches, presented  himself. 


82  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  commander  gave  a  verbal  answer,  and  ordered  the 
courier  to  take  it  back  with  all  speed. 

"  I  have  no  horse,"  the  man  answered  ;  "I  rode  mine 
so  hard  that  it  fell  dead  at  your  palace  gates. ' ' 

Napoleon  alighted.     "Take  mine,"  he  said. 

The  man  hesitated. 

' '  You  think  him  too  magnificently  caparisoned  and  too 
fine  an  animal ;"  said  Napoleon.  "  Nothing  is  too  good 
for  a  French  soldier  !" 

Again  a  call  was  made  on  Vienna  to  send  a  new  army 
and  a  greater  general  to  restore  the  Hapsburg  dominion  in 
Italy.  In  reply  another  powerful  armament  was  dis- 
patched to  the  Italian  frontier  and  this,  the  fourth  cam- 
paign against  Napoleon,  was  intrusted  to  the  supreme 
command  of  Alvinzi,  an  ofiicer  of  high  reputation. 

Field- Marshal  Alvinzi  was  placed  at  the  head  of  an 
army  of  forty-five  thousand  men  to  which  he  joined  eigh- 
teen thousand  under  Davidowich  in  the  Tyrol.  His  object 
was  to  raise  the  blockade  of  Mantua,  release  Wurmser  and, 
with  a  force  which  would  by  the  accession  of  the  garrison 
of  the  latter  amount  to  an  arm)^  of  eighty  thousand  men 
with  which  to  oppose  only  thirty  thousand.  With  these 
he  expected  to  reconquer  lyombardy. 

Three  large  armies,  advancing  with  similar  prospects, 
had  already  been  destroyed  by  Napoleon  ;  a  fourth  now 
prepared  to  pour  down  upon  him,  under  still  more  terrible 
circumstances.  The  battle  of  St.  George  and  the  strict 
blockade  of  Wurmser  in  Mantua  took  place  in  the  middle 
of  September.  Alvinzi 's  army  commenced  its  march  in 
the  beginning  of  October. 

Napoleon  instantly  ordered  Vaubois  and  Massena  to 
advance  to  the  attack  of  Davidowich,  whose  forces  were 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  83 

collected  in  the  Tyrol,  before  he  could  form  a  junction 
with  Alvinzi.  Both  failed.  Vaubois,  after  two  days' 
fighting  was  conquered  ;  lost  Trent  and  Galliano,  and  was 
forced  to  retreat.  Massena  in  consequence  had  to  effect  a 
retreat  without  attempting  an  engagement,  and  Alvinzi 
approaching  fast  gained  possession  of  all  the  country  be- 
tween the  Brenta  and  the  Adige  and  the  command  of  the 
Tyrol.  The  two  Austrian  generals  might  now  have 
effected  a  junction,  but  they  neglected  their  opportimity. 
Napoleon  hastened  to  Verona,  Alvinzi  having  taken  the 
same  route. 

It  seemed  likely  that  Austria,  in  this  new  campaign, 
was  destined  to  recover  her  immense  losses.  Napoleon 
was  now  contending  against  an  enemy  vastly  superior  in 
numbers  and  most  completely  appointed.  But  twelve  bat- 
talions had  been  sent  to  him  from  France  to  recruit  his 
exhausted  regiments,  and  nothing  but  the  employment  of 
the  highest  military  skill  could  now  save  him  from 
destruction. 

"  The  army  "  said  he,  in  writing  to  the  Directory,  "so 
inferior  in  numbers,  has  been  more  weakened  by  the  late 
engagements,  while  the  promised  reinforcements  have  not 
arrived.  The  heroes  of  Millessimo,  lyodi,  Castiglione,and 
Bassano,  are  dead  or  in  the  hospitals.  Joubert,  I^anusse, 
Victor,  Ivannes,  Chariot,  Murat,  Dupuis,  Rampon,  Me- 
nard, Chabrand,  and  Pigeon  are  wounded  ;  we  are  aban- 
doned at  the  extremity  of  Italy.  Had  I  received  the  103d, 
three  thousand  five  hundred  strong,  I  would  have  answered 
for  everything.  Whereas,  in  a  few  days,  40,000  men,  per- 
haps, will  not  be  sufficient  to  enable  us  to  make  head 
against  the  enemy. ' ' 


84  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

His  men  too,  were  becoming  dispirited  at  the  failure  of 
the  government  to  send  reinforcements,  and  no  longer 
fought  with  their  accustomed  vigor  and  enthusiasm.  The 
retreating  forces  came  before  him  with  dejected  looks. 
But  the  genius  of  Napoleon  was  not  yet  exhausted  ;  with 
him  discouragement  was  not  despair.  He  ordered  Vaubois' 
division — which  had  abandoned  Galliano — drawn  up  on 
the  plain  of  Rivoli,  and  thus  addressed  them  :  "  Soldiers, 
I  am  not  satisfied  with  you  :  you  have  shown  neither 
bravery,  discipline,  nor  perseverance.  No  position  could 
rally  you  :  you  abandoned  yourselves  to  a  panic  ter- 
ror ;  you  suffered  yourselves  to  be  driven  from 
situations  where  a  handful  of  brave  men  might  have 
stopped  an  army.  Soldiers  of  the  29th  and  85th,  you  are 
not  French  soldiers.  Quartermaster-general,  let  it  be  in- 
scribed on  their  colors  :  '  They  no  longer  belong  to  the 
Army  of  Italy  !'  " 

The  effect  of  these  words  was  electric.  The  veteran 
grenadiers  who  had  braved  the  terrific  charges  at  lyodi 
sobbed  like  children  and  broke  their  ranks  to  cluster  round 
their  commander  to  plead  for  one  more  trial.  Several  of 
the  veteran  grenadiers,  who  had  deserved  and  obtained 
badges  of  distinction,  called  out  from  the  ranks :  "General  ! 
we  have  been  misrepresented ;  place  us  in  the  van  of  the 
army  and  you  shall  then  judge  whether  we  do  not  belong 
to  the  Army  of  Italy. ' ' 

They  were  at  last  forgiven  by  their  indignant  com- 
mander, and  when  they  were  again  arrayed  against  the 
enemy  they  quickly  redeemed  their  lost  reputation  and 
gained  new  laurels.  But  a  spirit  of  discontent  pervaded  the 
French  army.  "We  cannot  work  miracles,"  said  the  sol- 
diers. '  'We  destroyed  Beaulieu's  great  army, and  then  came 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  85 

Wurmser  with  a  greater.  We  conquered  and  broke  him 
to  pieces,  and  then  came  Alvinzi  more  powerful  than  ever. 
When  we  have  conquered  him  Austria  will  pour  down  on 
us  a  hundred  thousand  fresh  soldiers  and  we  shall  leave 
our  bones  in  Italy. ' ' 

Although  much  dispirited,  Napoleon  was  by  no 
means  disposed  to  abandon  his  campaign  ;  to  his  soldiers 
he  said  by  way  of  encouragement :  ' '  We  have  but  one 
more  effort  to  make  and  Italy  is  ours.  The  enemy  is  no 
doubt  superior  to  us  in  numbers,  but  not  in  valor.  When 
he  is  beaten  Mantua  must  fall,  and  we  shall  be  masters  of 
all ;  our  labors  will  be  at  an  end,  for  not  only  Italy  but  a 
general  peace  is  in  Mantua.  You  talk  of  returning  to  the 
Alps,  but  you  are  no  longer  capable  of  doing  so.  From 
the  dry  and  frozen  bivouacs  of  those  sterile  rocks  you 
could  very  well  conquer  the  delicious  plains  of  lyOmbardy  ; 
but  from  the  smiling  flowery  bivouacs  of  Italy  you  cannot 
return  to  Alpine  snows.  Only  beat  Alvinzi  and  I  will 
answer  for  your  future  welfare." 

Ere  long  the  French  forces  were  once  more  ready  for 
battle.  Alvinzi  had  occupied  the  heights  of  Caldiero  and 
by  the  middle  of  November  threatened  Verona.  Massena 
attacked  the  heights  but  found  them  impregnable.  The 
French  were  repulsed  with  considerable  loss.  Napoleon 
found  it  necessary  to  attempt  taking  the  heights  by  other 
means  in  order  to  prevent  the  junction  of  Davidowich  and 
Alvinzi.  Pretending,  therefore, to  retreat  on  Mantua  after 
his  discomfiture,  he  returned  in  the  night  and  placed  him- 
self in  the  rear  of  Alvinzi' s  army.  When  his  columns 
advanced  on  Areola  the  enemy  thought  at  first  it  was  only 
a  skirmish  and  that  the  main  army  of  the  French  was  in 
Verona.     The  position  of  Areola  rendered  any   attack 


86  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

upon  it  so  extremely  hazardous  that  scarcely  anyone 
would  have  conceived  the  idea  of  making  the  attempt. 
The  village  is  surrounded  by  marshes  intersected  by  small 
streams,  by  ditches  and  by  three  causeways  or  bridges, 
across  which  alone  the  marshes  are  passable.  Areola  and 
the  bridge  leading  to  it  were  defended  by  two  battalions 
of  Alvinzi's  army,  and  two  pieces  of  cannon  which  com- 
manded the  bridge.  The  other  two  causeways  were  unpro- 
tected. 

Napoleon  ordered  a  division  to  charge  the  bridge  of 
Areola  at  daybreak.  The  attempt  seemed  even  to  the 
intrepid  Augereau  to  be  courting  death,  but  he  was  a  true 
soldier  and  obeyed  orders. 

On  November  15  a  column  advanced  on  each  of  the 
three  causeways.  Augereau' s  division  occupied  the 
bridge  of  Areola  which  was  swept  by  the  enemy's  cannon 
and  assailed  in  flank  by  their  battalions.  Even  the  chosen 
grenadiers,  led  by  Augereau  with  a  standard  in  his  hand, 
faltered  and  fell  back  under  the  destructive  fire,  fleeing 
over  the  corpses  of  nearly  half  their  comrades.  It  was 
a  most  critical  situation,  and  one  in  which  a  false  step  or 
the  loss  of  a  few  moments  meant  ruin.  Napoleon,  who 
knew  that  the  moment  was  decisive,  dashed  at  the  head 
of  the  column,  snatched  a  standard,  and  hurrying  onwards 
planted  the  colors  with  his  own  hands  on  the  bridge  amidst 
a  hail  of  balls  from  the  enemy's  artillery  and  musketry. 
As  he  did  so  he  cried  out :  ' '  Soldiers  !  are  you  no  longer 
the  brave  warriors  of  I^odi  ?     Follow  your  general  ! ' ' 

His  soldiers  rallied  and  rushed  with  him  till  they 
grappled  with  the  Austrian  division,  but  the  sudden 
arrival  of  a  fresh  column  of  the  enemy  made  it  an  impo£- 
sibility  to  maintain  their  ground.     The   French  fell  back. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  87 

and  Napoleon,  being  in  the  very  midst  of  the  fight,  was 
himself  seized  by  his  faithful  grenadiers  who  bore  him 
away  in  their  arms  through  smoke,  the  dead  and  dying,  as 
they  were  driven  backwards  inch  by  inch  with  dreadful 
carnage.  Mounting  a  horse  the  commander  once  more 
prepared  to  make  a  charge  at  the  head  of  his  heroic  troops, 
when  his  steed  became  unmanageable  and  plunged  head- 
long throwing  its  rider  into  a  morass  up  to  his  waist. 

The  Austrians  were  now  between  Napoleon  and  his 
baffled  column.  As  the  smoke  rolled  away  the  army  at 
once  perceived  the  critical  position  of  their  general. 
During  this  crisis  Lannes  pressed  forward  through  the 
marsh  and  reached  his  commander  as  also  did  the  gallant 
Muiron,  the  friend  and  aide-de-camp  of  Napoleon. 
Almost  at  the  same  moment  a  shot  was  fired  at  Napoleon. 
It  was  received  by  Muiron,  who  had  interposed  himself, 
and  he  died  covering  Napoleon's  body  with  his  own. 
But  still  the  person  of  the  commander  remained  in  the 
utmost  peril. 

The  grenadiers  now  formed  in  an  instant,  and  with  the 
cry,  "Forward,  soldiers,  to  save  your  general  !"  threw 
themselves  upon  the  enemy,  rescued  their  ' '  Little  Cor- 
poral ' '  from  his  critical  position  and  overthrew  the 
Austrian  columns  that  defended  the  bridge.  Napoleon 
was  quickly  at  their  head  again,  rallied  the  column,  struck 
terror  through  the  ranks  of  the  enemy, and  Areola  was  soon 
taken.  Two  other  engagements  followed  at  this  point,  in 
each  of  which  the  French  were  victorious,  Massena  pursuing 
the  enemy  until  darkness  compelled  him  to  desist.  The 
Austrians  lost  twelve  thousand  men  killed,  six  thousand 
prisoners,  eighteen  pieces  of  cannon  and  four  stands  of 
colors.     The  loss  of  the  French  was  less  considerable  in 


88  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

numbers  than  in  the  importance  of  the  prominent  indi- 
viduals who  fell  during  those  three  days,  when  the 
generals  acted  as  soldiers,  continually  fighting  at  the 
heads  of  their  columns.  The  great  art  of  Napoleon,  on 
that  occasion,  he  having  but  13,000  to  oppose  40,000  men, 
was  to  maintain  the  combat  in  the  midst  of  a  morass  where 
the  enemy  could  not  deploy.  Upon  such  a  field  of  battle, 
only  the  heads  of  the  columns  could  engage  ;  whereas,  on 
a  plain,  the  French  army  would  in  all  probability  have 
been  surrounded. 

Napoleon  said  at  St.  Helena  that  he  considered  himself 
in  the  greatest  danger  at  Areola. 

When  too  lateDavidowich  made  an  advance  upon  Verona, 
but  retreated  quickly  on  hearing  of  Alvinzi's  defeat  at 
Areola.  Wurmser,  too,  made  a  desperate  sally  and  was 
repulsed.  He  still  held  out,  however.  The  horses  of  the 
garrison  had  long  since  been  killed  and  salted  for  use  ; 
the  men  were  reduced  to  half  rations,  and  their  numbers 
were  being  rapidly  reduced  by  disease. 

This  fourth  attempt  of  Austria  to  conquer  Napoleon 
ended,  therefore,  as  did  the  previous  ones,  in  failure.  It 
was  one  of  the  most  memorable  campaigns  in  history,  in 
the  course  of  which  all  the  resources  of  skilled  warriors 
were  exhibited,  not  in  a  contest  of  a  few  hours  but  a  suc- 
cession of  memorable  battles.  As  yet,  however,  the 
young  commander  was  but  a  temporary  victor  ;  the  weak- 
ness of  the  Army  of  Italy  did  not  permit  him  to  draw  all 
the  advantages  he  had  promised  himself  from  Areola. 
Alvinzi  was  now  thoroughly  beaten,  his  losses  were  very 
great,  and  like  his  predecessors  he  sent  to  Vienna  for  rein- 
forcements to  continue  his  contest  against  Bonaparte,  who 
had  repaired  to  Verona  which  he  fixed  upon  as  the  central 
point  of  operations. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  89 

Once  more  the  Austrian  general's  preparations  were 
completed  for  a  fresh  campaign,  and  on  January  7,  1797, 
at  the  head  of  sixty  thousand  soldiers,  consisting  of  volun- 
teers from  the  best  families  in  Vienna  and  battalions  from 
the  Army  of  the  Rhine,  Croats,  Hungarians,  Tyroleans, 
etc. ,  Alvinzi  descended  from  the  northern  barriers  of  Italy 
to  release  the  brave  Wurmser  from  his  prison  at 
Mantua,  and  again  attempt  to  "  overwhelm  the  French 
invaders. ' '  A  messenger  dispatched  to  Wurmser  from  the 
imperial  court  was  captured  by  the  French,  and  dis- 
patches concealed  in  wax  balls  recovered.  From  these 
Napoleon  learned  the  present  designs,  signed  by  the 
emperor's  own  hand,  of  the  Austrian  government : — 
Alvinzi  was  once  more  placed  at  the  head  of  sixty  thous- 
and men,  and  was  again  to  march  into  Lombardy  and  to 
raise  the  siege  of  Mantua:  Wurmser  was  directed  to  hold 
out  to  the.  last  extremity:  If  the  army  of  Alvinzi  could  be 
reunited  with  the  garrison,  the  destruction  of  the  French 
seemed  undoubted;  if  not,  and  if,  in  the  course  of  hostili- 
ties, he  found  it  best  to  abandon  Mantua,  he  was  directed 
to  cut  his  way  into  Romagna  and  to  take  command  of  the 
papal  troops,  the  pope  having  broken  the  treaty  of  Bologna, 
and  raised  an  army  of  seven  thousand  men  to  act  in  con- 
cert with  Wurmser,  when  he  should  be  released  from 
Mantua. 

Again  the  Austrian  army, — the  fifth — was  divided,  one 
column  under  Alvinzi  for  the  line  of  the  Adige  ;  the  other 
for  the  Bretna  under  General  Pro  vera,  who  was  to  join  the 
marshal  under  the  walls  of  Mantua. 

When  Napoleon  learned  this  at  his  headquarters  at 
Verona  he  posted  Joubert  at  Rivoli  to  dispute  Alvinzi 's 
passage,  and  Augereau  to  watch  the  movements  of  Pro  vera, 


90  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

knowing  that  witliin  a  few  hours  he  could  concentrate 
his  own  forces  on  either  column. 

At  sunset  on  the  13th  of  January  Joubert's  messenger 
brought  the  news  that  he  had  met  Alvinzi  and  with 
difficulty  held  him  in  check  through  the  day.  Napoleon 
examined  with  the  utmost  attention  the  maps  and  descrip- 
tions of  the  places,  the  reports  of  the  generals,  and  those 
of  his  spies  and  light  troops  and  passed  a  part  of  the  night 
in  a  state  of  uncertainty  and  indecision.  At' length  on 
receiving  fresh  reports  he  exclaimed  :  "  It  is  clear — it  is 
clear  :  to  Rivoli !"  and,  quickly  giving  his  orders  to  his 
aides  assigning  the  troops  to  their  different  routes,  he  left 
a  garrison  at  Verona  and  with  General  Massena  and  all 
the  disposable  troops  he  repaired  to  General  Joubert.  By 
one  of  his  lightning  marches  he  reached  the  heights  of 
Rivoli  two  hours  after  midnight.  Below  in  the  valley  five 
separate  encampments  of  the  Austrian  army  were  visible 
in  the  moonlight.  Napoleon  quickly  decided  to  force 
Alvinzi  to  battle  before  he  was  ready.  Joubert,  confounded 
by  the  display  of  Alvinzi 's  gigantic  force  was  in  the  very 
act  of  abandoning  his  position  when  the  French  com- 
mander checked  his  movement,  and,  bringing  up  more 
battalions,  forced  the  enemy  from  a  position  they  had 
seized  on  the  first  symptoms  of  the  French  retreat. 

From  the  eminence  on  which  he  stood  Napoleon's  keen 
eye  soon  penetrated  the  secretof  Alvinzi 's  weakness, — that 
his  artillery  had  not  yet  arrived.  To  force  him  to  accept 
battle,  Napoleon  took  every  possible  means  to  conceal  his 
own  arrival  and  prolonged,  by  a  series  of  petty  manoeu- 
vres, the  enemy's  belief  that  they  had  to  do  with  a  mere 
outpost  of  the  French.  Alvinzi  was  fully  deceived,  and 
instead  of  advancing   on  some  great   aiid   well-arranged 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  91 

system,  suffered  his  several  columns  to  endeavor  to 
force  the  heights  by  insulated  movements  which  the  real 
strength  of  Napoleon  easily  enabled  him  to  baflBe.  Two 
field -pieces  had  been  abandoned  by  their  drivers  and  which 
were  seized  by  the  enemy,  when  an  officer  whose  name  is 
not  recorded,  advancing,  cried  out :  "Fourteenth,  will 
you  let  them  take  your  artillery  ?' '  Berthier,  who  had 
purposely  suffered  the  enemy  to  approach,  then  opened  a 
terrible  fire,  which  leveled  men  and  horses  round  the 
guns,  and  upon  which  the  Austrians  immediately  fell  back. 

A  moment  later  the  bravery  of  the  enemy  resulted  in 
their  nearly  overthrowing  the  French  on  a  point  of  pre- 
eminent importance,  but  Napoleon  himself,  galloping  to 
the  spot,  roused  by  his  voice  and  action  the  division  of 
Massena  who,  having  marched  all  night,  had  laid  down 
to  rest  in  the  extreme  of  weariness.  They  started  up  at 
the  commander's  voice  and  the  Austrian  column  was 
speedily  repulsed. 

The  French  artillery  was  soon  in  position,  while  that  of 
the  Austrians,  as  Napoleon  had  guessed, had  not  yet  come 
up,  and  this  circumstance  decided  the  fortune  of  the  day. 
The  batteries  of  the  French  made  havoc  of  the  broken 
columns  ;  the  cavalry  made  repeated  charges  ;  four  out  of 
the 'five  divisions  were  thus  broken  and  utterly  routed. 
The  fifth  now  made  its  appearance  in  the  rear  of  the 
French.  It  had  been  sent  round  to  outflank  Napoleon 
and  take  higher  ground  in  his  rear  according  to  the  orders 
of  the  Austrian  general  before  the  action.  When  lyusig- 
nan's  division  achieved  its  destined  object  it  did  so,  — not 
to  complete  the  misery  of  a  routed,  but  to  swell  the  prey 
of  a  victorious,  enemy.  Instead  of  cutting  off  the  retreat 
of  Joubert,I^usignan  found  himself  insulated  from  Alvinzi 


92  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

and  forced  to  lay  down  his  arms  to  Bonaparte.  Had  this 
movement  been  made  a  httle  sooner  it  might  have  turned 
the  fortune  of  the  day  :  as  it  was,  the  I^rench  soldiers 
only  exclaimed:  "Here  come  further  supplies  to  our 
market !  ' '  and  very  soon  the  Austrians,  exposed  to  a 
heavy  fire  from  the  artillery,  were  forced  to  surrender. 

"Here  was  a  good  plan,  "  said  Napoleon,  "  but  these 
Austrians  are  not   apt  to  calculate  the  value  of  minutes. ' ' 

Had  lyusignan  gained  the  rear  of  the  French  an  hour 
earlier,  while  the  contest  was  still  hot  in  front  of  the 
heights  of  Rivoli,  he  might  have  aided  in  the  complete 
overthrow  of  Napoleon  instead  of  being  defeated  on  one 
of  the  brightest  days  in  the  young  commander's  career. 

In  the  course  of  the  day  Bonaparte  had  remained  in  the 
hottest  of  the  fight,  which  lasted  during  twelve  hours,  and 
had  three  horses  shot  under  him,  and  although  much 
fatigued,  hardly  waited  to  see  lyUsignan  surrender  ere  he  set 
off  with  reinforcements  to  the  lyower  Adige  to  prevent 
Wurmser  from  either  housing  Provera  or  joining  him  in 
the  open  field  and  so  effect  the  escape  of  his  own  formid- 
able garrison.  The  flying  troops  of  Alvinzi  were  left  to 
the  care  of  Massena,  Murat  and  Joubert. 

Marching  all  day  and  the  next  night  Napoleon  reached 
the  vicinity  of  Mantua  late  on  the  1 5th.  He  found  the 
enemy  strongly  posted  and  Serrurier's  position  highly 
critical.  A  regiment  of  Provera' s  hussars  had  but  a  few 
hours  before  established  themselves  in  the  suburb  of  St. 
George.  This  Austrian  corps  had  been  clothed  in  white 
cloaks  resembling  those  of  a  well-known  French  regiment 
of  hussars,  and  advancing  towards  the  gate  would  cer- 
tainly have  been  admitted  as  friends  but  for  the  sagacity 
of  an  old  sergeant,  who  could  not  help  fancying  that  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  93 

white  cloaks  had  too  much  of  the  gloss  of  novelty  about 
them  to  have  stood  the  wear  and  tear  of  three  Bonapartean 
campaigns.  He  instantly  closed  the  barriers  and  warned 
a  drummer  who  was  near  him  of  the  danger.  These  two 
gave  the  alarm  and  the  guns  of  the  blockading  force  were 
instantly  turned  upon  their  pretended  friends  who  were 
forced  to  retire. 

Napoleon  himself  passed  the  night  in  walking  the  out- 
posts, so  great  was  his  anxiety.  At  one  of  these  he  found 
a  grenadier  sentinel  asleep  from  exhaustion  and  taking 
his  gun,  without  waking  him,  performed  a  sentinel's  duty 
in  his  place  for  about  half  an  hour.  When  the  man, 
starting  from  his  slumbers,  perceived  with  terror  and  des- 
pair the  countenance  and  occupation  of  his  general,  he  fell 
on  his  knees  before  him.  ' '  My  friend, ' '  said  Napoleon 
mildly,  ' '  here  is  your  musket.  You  had  fought  hard  and 
marched  long  and  your  exhaustion  is  excusable  ;  but  a 
moment's  inattention  might  at  present  ruin  the  whole 
arm}^  I  happened  to  be  awake  and  have  held  your  post 
for  you.     You  will  be  more  careful  another  time  !" 

Such  acts  of  magnanimity  endeared  Napoleon  to  his 
soldiers,  and,  while  he  rarely  relaxed  in  his  military  dis- 
cipline, he  early  acquired  the  devotion  of  his  men  who 
told  and  retold  anecdotes  of  his  doings  in  camp  and  on 
the  battlefield,  and  as  the  stories  spread  from  column  to 
column  his  followers  came  to  regard  him  with  a  veneration 
that  few  older  commanders  have  been  able  to  instill  in 
their  men.  Another  anecdote  is  related  of  Bonaparte, 
when  upon  the  point  of  commencing  one  of  his  great 
battles  in  Italy.  As  he  was  disposing  his  troops  in 
order  of  attack,  a  light  dragoon  stepping  from  the  ranks, 
requested  of  the  commander  a  few  minutes  private  conver- 


94  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

sation  to  whicli  Napoleon  acquiesced,  when  the  soldier 
thus  addressed  him  :  ' '  General,  if  you  will  proceed  to 
adopt  such  and  such  measures,  the  enemy  must  be 
defeated. ' ' 

"Wretched  man,"  exclaimed  the  commander,  "hold 
your  tongue  ;  you  will  surely  not  betray  my  secret ' '  at  the 
same  time  placing  his  hand  before  the  mouth  of  the 
dragoon. 

The  soldier  in  question  was  possessed  of  an  inherent 
military  capacity  and  appreciated  every  arrangement  nec- 
essary to  insure  victory.  The  battle  terminating  in  favor 
of  Napoleon,  he  issued  orders  that  the  poor  fellow  should 
be  conducted  to  his  presence  ;  but  all  search  for  him 
proved  fruitless,  he  was  nowhere  to  be  found  :  a  bullet 
had  no  doubt  terminated  his  military  career. 

The  next  morning  there  ensued  a  hot  skirmish,  recorded 
as  the  battle  of  St.  George.  The  tumult  a.nd  slaughter 
were  dreadful  and  Provera  with  his  whole  force  were  com- 
pelled to  lay  down  their  arms.  Wurmser,  who  had 
hazarded  a  sortie  from  Mantua  to  join  his  countrymen, 
was  glad  to  make  his  way  back  again,  and  retire  within 
the  old  walls,  in  consequence  of  a  desperate  assault  headed 
by  Napoleon  in  person,  who  threw  himself  between 
Wurmser  and  Provera  and  beat  them  completely  one 
after  the  other.  Provera  now  found  himself  cut  off  hope- 
lessly from  Alvinzi  and  surrounded  by  the  French  ;  he 
was  disheartened  and  defeated.  He  and  his  five  thous- 
and men  laid  down  their  arms  on  the  i6th  of  January, 
and  various  bodies  of  the  Austrian  force  scattered  over 
the  country  followed  their  example.  This  latter  engage- 
ment was  called  the  battle  of  I^a  Favorita  from  the  name 
of  a  country  house  near  which  it  was  fought.     The  75th 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  95 

at  this  battle  refused  cartridges  :  ' '  With  such  enemies  as 
we  have  before  us,"  said  they,  "  we  must  only  use  the 
bayonet. ' ' 

The  battles  of  Rivoli  and  La  Favorita  had  disabled 
Alvinzi  from  continuing  the  campaign  .  Thus  had  the 
magnificent  army  of  Austria  ceased  to  exist  in  three  days. 

Such  was  the  prevailing  terror  of  the  enemy  at  this  time 
that  in  one  instance  Rene,  a  young  officer  keeping  guard 
of  a  position  with  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  men,  sud- 
denly encountered  and  took  prisoners  a  small  body  of  Aus- 
trians  .  On  advancing  to  reconnoitre,  he  found  himself  in 
front  of  a  body,  of  eighteen  hundred  more,  whom  a  turn  in 
the  road  had  concealed  from  his  sight.  '%ay  down  your 
arms  ! ' '  said  the  Austrian  commandant.  Rene  answered 
with  boldness,  "Do  you  lay  down  your  arms!  I  have 
destroyed  your  advance  guard  ;  — ground  j^our  arms,  or 
no  quarter  !  "  The  French  soldiers  joined  in  the  cry,  and 
the  whole  body  of  the  astonished  Austrians  absolutely 
laid  down  their  arms  to  a  party,  which  they  found  to  their 
exasperation  when  too  late,  was  in  numbers  one  twelfth 
of  their  own, 

Wurmser  was  now  thoroughly  disheartened  in  not 
receiving  relief,  and  as  his  provisions  were  by  this 
time  exhausted,  found  himself  at  length  in  dire 
straits.  Napoleon  sent  him  word  of  the  rout  and 
dispersion  of  the  Austrian  army  and  summoned  him  to 
surrender.  The  old  soldier  proudly  replied  that  "he  had 
provisions  for  a  year,"  but  a  few  days  later  he  sent  his 
aide-de-camp,  Klenau  to  the  headquarters  of  Serrurier 
with  an  offer  of  capitulation.  General  Serrurier,  as  com- 
mander of  the  blockade,  received  the  bearer  of  Wurmser's 


96  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

message  in  which  he  stated  that  he  was  ' '  still  in  a  condition 
to  hold  out  considerably  longer,  unless  honorable  terms 
were  granted.  " 

Napoleon,  who  had  been  seated  in  a  corner  of  his  tent 
wrapped  in  his  cloak,  now  came  forward  and  addressed 
himself  to  the  Austrian  envoy,  who  had  no  suspicion  in 
whose  presence  he  had  been  speaking,  and  taking  his  pen, 
wrote  down  marginal  answers  to  the  conditions  proposed 
by  Wurmser.  He  granted  terms  more  favorable  than 
might  have  been  exacted  in  the  extremity  to  which 
the  veteran  was  reduced.  '  'These, ' '  said  he,  "  are  the  con- 
ditions to  which  your  general's  bravery  entitles  him  if  he 
opens  his  gates  tomorrow.  He  may  have  them  to-day  ; 
a  week,  a  month  hence,  he  shall  have  no  worse  :  he  may 
hold  out  to  his  last  morsel  of  bread.  Meantime  tell  him 
that  General  Bonaparte  is  about  to  set  out  for  Rome. ' ' 

The  envoy  now  recognized  Napoleon,  and  on  reading 
the  paper  perceived  that  the  proposed  terms  were  more 
liberal  than  he  had  dared  to  hope  for  ;  he  then  owned  that 
only  three  days'  provisions  remained  in  Mantua. 

The  capitulation  was  forthwith  signed  and  on  the  2d  of 
February,  1797,  Wurmser  and  his  garrison  of  13,000  men 
marched  out  of  Mantua  :  7,000  were  lying  in  the  hospi- 
tals. When  the  aged  chief  was  by  the  fortunes  of  war  to 
surrender  his  sword,  he  found  only  Serrurier  ready  to 
receive  it.  Napoleon  was  unwilling  to  be  a  witness  to 
the  humiliation  of  the  distinguished  veteran,  and  had 
left  the  place  before  the  surrender,  thus  sparing  the  con- 
quered veteran  the  mortification  of  giving  up  his  sword 
to  so  youthful  a  commander.  This  delicate  generosity 
on  the  part  of  the  French  general  was  never  forgotten  by 
Wurmser. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  97 

The  terms  of  surrender  agreed  to  by  Bonaparte  were 
not  readily  accepted  by  the  French  Directory,  who 
urged  him  to  far  different  conduct.  "I  have  granted 
the  Austrian,  "  he  wrote  in  repl}^,  "such  terms  as  were,  in 
my  judgment,  due  to  a  brave  and  honorable  foe,  and  to 
the  dignity  of  the  French  nation. ' '  The  loss  of  the  Aus- 
trians  at  Mantua  amounted  altogether  to  not  less  than 
30,000  men,  besides  innumerable  military  stores  and  up- 
wards of  500  brass  cannon. 

The  conquerer  sent  Augereau  to  Paris  with  the  sixty 
captured  standards  of  Austria,  and  his  arrival  at  the  cap- 
ital was  celebrated  as  a  national  festival.  Thus  it  was 
that  Napoleon,  with  a  total  force  at  the  utmost,  of  65,000 
men,  conquered,  in  their  own  country,  and  under  the  eye 
and  succoring  hand  of  their  own  government,  five  succes- 
sive armies,  amounting,  in  all,  to  ^tpwa7'ds  of  joo^ooo 
well-appointed  well-provisioned  soldiers,  under  old  and 
experienced  commanders  of  approved  courage.  Such  was 
the  conquest  of  lyombardy  . 

Some  time  later  Wurmser  sent  Napoleon  a  letter  by 
special  messenger  acknowledging  the  generosity  and  deli- 
cacy of  conduct  of  the  French  commander  at  Mantua,  and 
at  the  same  time  apprising  him  by  his  aide-de-camp  of  a 
conspiracy  to  poison  him  in  the  dominions  of  the  pope, 
with  whom  he  was  about  to  wage  war. 

A  few  brief  engagements  with  papal  troops  followed  the 
capitulation  of  Wurmser,  the  pope  fearing  that  the  con- 
queror would  enter  the  "  Bternal  City  j"  but  Napoleon, 
by  a  rapid  movement,  threw  his  infantry  across  the  river 
Senio,  where  the  enemy  was  encamped,  and  met  with  but  a 
brief  resistance.  Shortly  afterwards  the  pope  entered  into 
negotiations  with  the  French  commander,  and  the  treaty 


98  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

of  Tolentino  followed  on  the  i3tli  of  February,  1797,  con- 
ceding to  the  French  one  hundred  of  the  finest  works  of 
art,  several  castles  and  legations,  and  about  two  millions 
of  dollars. 

Napoleon  was  now  master  of  all  Northern.  Italy  with 
the  exception  of  the  territories  of  Venice,  which  announced 
that  it  had  no  desire  but  to  preserve  a  perfect  neutrality. 

More  than  a  month  had  now  elapsed  since  Alvinzi's 
defeat  at  Rivoli ;  in  nine  days  the  war  with  the  pope  had 
reached  its  close  ;  and,  having  left  some  garrisons  in  the 
town  on  the  Adige  to  watch  the  neutrality  of  Venice, 
Napoleon  hastened  to  carry  the  war  into  the  hereditary 
dominions  of  the  Austrian  Emperor,  Twenty  thousand 
fresh  troops  had  joined  his  victorious  standard  from 
France,  and  at  the  head  of  perhaps  a  larger  force  than  he 
had  ever  before  mustered,  he  proceeded  towards  the  Tyrol 
where,  according  to  his  information,  the  main  army  of 
Austria,  recruited  once  more  to  its  original  strength,  was 
preparing  to  open  a  sixth  campaign  under  the  orders, — 
not  of  Alvinzi,  but  of  a  general  young  like  himself,  and 
hitherto  eminently  successful,  the  Archduke  Charles,  who 
had  defeated  the  courage  and  skill  of  Jourdan  and  Moreau 
on  the  Rhine,  and  was  now  to  be  opposed  to  Napoleon. 

The  story  of  this  sixth  campaign  is  but  a  repetition  of 
the  five  that  preceded  it.  The  archduke,  a  young  prince 
of  high  talents, and  upon  whom  the  last  hopes  of  the  Aus- 
trianEmpire  reposed,  compelled  by  the  council  of  Vienna 
to  execute  a  plan  he  had  the  discrimination  to  condemn, 
was  destined  to  lead  but  a  short  campaign,  although  he  had 
the  best  army  Austria  could  enroll.  This  army  once  more 
proceeded  to  begin  operations  on  a  double  basis,  and 
Napoleon  permitted  him  to  assume  the  ofiensive. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  99 

On  the  9tli  of  March  ,1797,  the  French  commander' s  head- 
quarters were  fixed  at  Bassano,  and  he  proceeded  vigorously 
on  his  career  of  conquest.  He  issued  one  of  his  stirring 
proclamations,  in  which  he  told  his  soldiers  that  a  grand 
destiny  was  still  reserved  for  them,  and  then  advanced 
to  attack  the  archduke.  He  found  the  latter  posted  upon 
the  plains  bordering  on  the  banks  of  the  river  Tagliamento 
in  front  of  the  rugged  Carinthian  mountains  which  guard 
the  passage  in  that  quarter  from  Italy  to  Germany. 
Detaching  Massena  with  a  division  of  cavalry  to  effect  the 
passage  of  the  Piave  where  the  Austrian  division  of 
lyusignan  was  posted,  Napoleon  determined  to  charge  the 
archduke  in  front.  Massena  was  successful  in  driving 
I/Usignan  before  him  as  far  as  Belluno,  where  he, with  a 
rear  guard  of  500,  surrendered ,  and  thus  turned  the  Aus- 
trian flank. 

On  the  1 6th  of  March,  the  two  armies  headed  by  Na- 
poleon, and  the  Archduke  Charles  in  person,  were  drawn 
up  on  opposite  sides  of  the»  Tagliamento,  face  to  face. 
Bonaparte  then  attempted  to  effect  the  passage  of  the  river, 
but  after  a  formal  display  of  his  forces,  which  was  met  by 
similar  demonstrations  on  the  Austrian  side  of  the  river, 
he  suddenly  broke  up  his  line,  retreated,  and  took  up  his 
bivouac.  The  archduke  concluded  that,  as  the  French 
had  been  marching  all  the  night  before,  their  leader 
wished  to  defer  the  battle  until  another  day,  and  in  like 
manner  withdrew  to  his  encampment.  About  two  hours 
later  Napoleon  rushed  with  his  whole  army,  who  had 
merely  laid  down  in  ranks,  upon  the  margin  of  the  Tag- 
liamento,— no  longer  adequately  guarded, — and  had 
forded  the  stream  ere  the  Austrian  line  of  battle  could  be 
formed.     In  the  passage  of   the  Tagliamento  Napoleon 


loo  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

was  so  nearly  drowned,  by  the  submersion  of  his  carriage, 
that  he  for  some  moments  gave  up  all  thoughts  of  being 
rescued. 

This  affair  was  the  first  in  which  the  division  of  Berna- 
dotte  had  borne  a  part.  He  arrived  upon  the  borders  of 
the  Tagliamento  at  the  very  moment  of  the  combat : 
throwing  himself  into  the  river  he  exclaimed  to  his  fol- 
lowers ,  '  'Think  that  you  are  the  Army  of  the  Rhine,  and 
that  the  Army  of  Italy  is  looking  on  you  !" 

In  the  action  which  followed  the  troops  of  the  archduke 
displayed  much  gallantry,  and  charged  the  French  repeat- 
edly with  the  greatest  courage,  but  every  effort  to  dis- 
lodge Napoleon  failed ;  at  length  retreat  was  deemed 
necessary,  and  eight  pieces  of  cannon  and  some  provisions 
were  left  behind,  the  French  following  in  close  pursuit. 

Adjutant  General  Kellerman  distinguished  himself  at 
the  head  of  the  French  cavalry  and  received  many 
wounds  in  executing  the  manoeuvres  that  decided  the  suc- 
cess of  the  day  ;  he  was  subsequently  charged  with  carry- 
ing the  trophies  taken  from  the  enemy  to  France. 

The  pursuers  stormed  Gradisca,  where  they  made  6,000 
prisoners ;  and  the  archduke  continuing  his  retreat, 
occupied  in  the  course  of  a  few  days  Trieste,  Fiume  and 
every  stronghold  in  Carinthia.  In  the  course  of  a  cam- 
paign of  twenty  daj^s  the  Austrians  fought  Bonaparte 
ten  times  ;  but  the  overthrow  on  the  Tagliamento  was 
never  recovered  .  Their  army  was  melting  away  like  the 
snows  of  the  Tryol. 

At  last  the  Austrian  leader  decided  to  reach  Vienna  by 
forced  marches,  thereto  gather  round  him  whatever  force 
the  loyalty  of  his  nation  could  muster,  and  make  a  last 
stand  beneath  the  walls   of  the  capital.     The  archduke 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  loi 

expected  to  reap  great  advantage  from  enticing  the 
French  army  into  the  heart  of  Austria,  where,  divided  by 
many  wide  provinces  and  mighty  mountains  and  rivers 
from  France,  and  with  Italy  once  more  in  arms  behind 
them,  he  hoped  to  cut  off  their  source  of  supphes  and 
compel  them  to  retreat  from  a  greatly  reinforced  imperial 
army. 

From  the  period  of  the  opening  of  the  campaign  the 
archduke  had  lost  nearly  20,000  men  made  prisoners,  so 
that  the  Austrians  could  make  no  stand  except  upon  the 
mountains  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  Capital. 

Vienna,  however,  was  terror-stricken  on  hearing  that 
Napoleon  who  was  only  sixty  leagues  distant,  had  stormed 
the  passes  of  the  Julian  Alps ,  The  imperial  family — 
embracing  little  Marie  Louise,  then  scarcely  six  years 
old,  afterwards  Napoleon's  wife — fled  with  their  crown 
jewels  and  treasures  into  Hungary ;  the  middle  classes 
became  clamorous  for  a  termination  of  the  six  years'  war, 
and  the  archduke  was  ordered  to  avail  himself  of  the  first 
pretense  which  circumstances  might  afford  for  the  open- 
ing of  a  negotiation.  Napoleon  wrote  to  the  archduke 
suggesting  peace  :  "While  brave  soldiers  carry  on  war 
they  wish  for  peace;"  he  said,  "Has  not  the  war 
already  lasted  six  years?  Have  we  not  killed  men 
enough,  and  inflicted  sufficient  sufferings  on  the  human 
race  ?  Europe  has  laid  down  the  arms  she  took  up  against 
the  French  Republic.  Your  nation  alone  perseveres  ;  yet 
blood  is  to  flow  more  copiously  than  ever.  Whatever  be 
the  issue,  we  shall  kill  some  thousands  of  men  on  both 
sides,  and  after  all  we  must  come  to  an  understanding, 
since  all  things  have  an  end,  not  excepting  vindictive 
passions.     *     *     *     For  my  part,  general,  if  the  over- 


I02  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

ture  I  have  the  honor  to  make  to  you  should  only  save 
the  life  of  a  single  man,  I  should  feel  more  proud  of  the 
civic  crown,  I  should  think  I  thereby  merited,  than 
of  all  the  melancholy  glory  that  the  most  distinguished 
military  successes  can  afford." 

The  archduke  replied  within  two  hours  after  the  receipt 
of  the  letter  and  a  series  of  negotiations  followed,  which 
with  Napoleon's  rapid  advance  on  Vienna,  finally  brought 
about  the  provisional  treaty  of  lyeoben,  signed  April  i8, 
1797.  Napoleon,  without  waiting  for  full  power  from  the 
Directory  to  complete  the  treaty,  took  the  responsibility 
upon  himself  and  signed  it  on  the  part  of  France  on  the 
19th  of  April.  The  Austrian  plenipotentiaries  had  set 
down  as  a  primary  concession  that  "  thel^mperor  acknow- 
ledged the  French  Republic. ' ' 

"Strike  that  out !"  said  Napoleon  ;  "  the  Republic  is 
like  the  sun  that  shines  by  its  own  light ;  none  but  the 
blind  can  fail  to  see  it.  We  are  our  own  masters  and 
shall  estabhsh  any  government  we  prefer. "  "If  the 
French  people  should  one  da}^  wish  to  create  a  monarchy, ' ' 
he  afterwards  remarked,  ' '  the  Emperor  might  object  that 
he  had  recognized  a  Republic." 

This  treaty  was  followed  by  a  complete  surrender 
on  the  part  of  the  Venetian  Senate  which  had  violated  its 
pledges  of  neutrality,  and  a  democratic  government  was 
formed,  provisionally,  on  the  model  of  France.  Venice 
consented  to  surrender  to  the  victor  large  territories  on 
the  mainland  of  Italy  ;  five  ships  of  war,  ^600,000  in  gold 
and  as  much  more  in  naval  stores,  twenty  of  her  best 
works  of  art  and  500  ancient  manuscripts.  Napoleon 
took  possession  of  the  city,  and  the  history  of  the  Venetian 
Republic  was  ended.     In  their  last  agony  the   Venetian 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  103 

Senate  made  a  vain  attempt  to  bribe  Napoleon  with  a 
purse  of  seven  millions  of  francs  for  more  favorable  terms, 
reminding  him  of  the  proverbial  ingratitude  of  all  popular 
governments  and  of  the  slight  attention  which  the  French 
Directory  had  hitherto  paid  to  his  personal  interests. 
"  That  is  all  true  enough,"  he  replied,  "but  I  will  not 
place  myself  in  the  power  of  this  duke."  To  a  larger 
tender  on  the  part  of  Austria  he  replied  :  "If  greatness  or 
richness  is  to  be  mine,  it  must  come  from  France." 

Among  the  works  of  art  sent  by  Napoleon  to  Paris  was 
the  celebrated  picture  of  St.  Jerome  from  the  Duke  of 
Parma's  gallery.  The  duke,  to  save  this  treasure,  offered 
Napoleon  two  hundred  thousand  dollars,  which  the  con- 
queror refused  to  take,  saying :  ' '  The  sum  which  he  offers 
us  will  soon  be  spent ;  but  the  possession  of  such  a  mas- 
terpiece at  Paris  will  adorn  that  capital  for  ages,  and  give 
birth  to  similar  exertions  of  genius. ' ' 

The  fall  of  Venice  gave  Napoleon  the  means  of  bringing 
his  treaty  with  Austria  to  a  more  satisfactory  conclusion 
than  had  been  indicated  in  the  preliminaries  of  Leoben. 
After  settling  the  affairs  of  Venice  and  establishing  the 
new  lyigurian  Republic  he  took  up  his  residence  at  the 
palace  of  Montibello,  near  Milan,  with  Josephine,  whom 
he  had  not  seen  since  his  departure  from  France  a  year 
before.  The  final  settlement  with  Austria's  commissioners 
was  purposely  delayed  by  thatEmpire,it  being  the  universal 
belief  that  the  government  of  France  was  approaching  a 
new  crisis,  and  Austria  hoped  from  such  an  event  to  derive 
considerable  advantage.  Napoleon  was  becoming  weary 
of  the  protracted  negotiations  and  threats  of  the  Austrian 
ambassadors  .One  day  in  the  latter' s  chamber,  he  suddenly 
changed  his  demeanor.     ' '  You  refuse  to  accept  our  ulti- 


I04  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

matum,"  said  he,  taking  in  his  hands  a  beautiful  vase  of 
porcelain,  which  stood  on  the  mantelpiece  near  him.  The 
Austrian  bowed.  "It  is  well,"  said  Napoleon,  "the 
truce  is  broken,  war  is  declared,  but  mark  me, — within 
three  months  I  shall  shatter  Austria  as  I  now  shatter  this 
brittle  affair!"  So  saying  he  dashed  the  fragile  piece 
furiously  to  the  floor,  breaking  it  into  a  thousand  pieces, 
and  left  the  room.  The  ambassador  followed  him,  and 
finding  him  preparing  to  march  on  Vienna,  made  sub- 
missions which  induced  him  to  once  more  resume  negoti- 
ations, the  result  of  which  was  the  treaty  of  Campo-Formio, 
so  called  from  the  humble  village  at  which  it  was  signed 
on  the  17th  of  October,  1797. 

Bourienne  relates  that  while  Napoleon  was  occupied 
with  the  organization  of  Venice,  Genoa  and  Milan,  he 
used  to  complain  of  the  want  of  meri.  "Good  God!" 
said  he,  '  'how  rare  men  are  !  There  are  eighteen  millions 
in  Italy  and  I  have  with  difficulty  found  two  real  ones, — 
Dandolo  and  Lelzi."  These  two  actual  "men"  were 
immediately  employed  in  important  services,  and  justified 
his  estimation  of  them. 

It  was  from  the  palace  of  Montibello,  five  leagues  from 
Milan,  that  Napoleon  wrote  to  the  Directory :  ' '  From  these 
different  points  (the  islands  of  the  Mediterranean,  which 
he  proposed  to  seize)  we  can  command  that  sea,  keep  an 
eye  on  the  Ottoman  Empire,  which  is  crumbling  to 
pieces,  and  we  can  render  the  supremacy  of  the  ocean 
almost  useless  to  Great  Britian.  Let  us  take  possession  oj 
Egypt,  which  lies  on  the  road  to  India,  and  there  we  can 
found  one  of  the  mightiest  colonies  in  the  world.  It  is 
in  Egypt  we  must  make  war  on  England. ' ' 

To  perfect  the  treaty  with  Austria  Napoleon  received 
orders  from  the  French  Directory  to  appear  at  a  congress 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  105 

at  Rastadt,  all  the  German  powers  being  summoned  to  meet 
there  for  that  purpose.  He  took  an  affecting  leave  01  his 
soldiers,  in  which  he  said  in  closing  :  '  'Soldiers,  when  you 
talk  of  the  princes  you  have  conquered,  of  the  nations  you 
have  set  free,  and  the  battles  you  have  fought  in  two 
campaigns, say :  'In  the  next  two  we  shall  do  still  more. '  ' ' 
He  then  proceeded  by  way  of  Switzerland,  carrying  with 
him  the  unbounded  love  and  devotion  of  one  of  the  finest 
armies  that  the  world  had  ever  seen. 

A  person  who  saw  Napoleon  at  this  time  described  his 
impressions  of  him  in  the  following  letter,  which  appeared 
in  one  of  the  Paris  journals  in  December  1797  :  "With 
lively  interest  and  extreme  attention,  I  have  observed  this 
extraordinary  man,  who  has  performed  such  great  deeds, 
and  about  whom  there  is  something  which  seems  to  indicate 
that  his  career  is  not  yet  closed.  I  found  him  very  like 
his  portraits — little,  thin,  pale,  with  an  air  of  fatigue, 
but  not  of  ill-health,  as  has  been  reported  of  him.  He 
appears  to  me  to  listen  with  more  abstraction  than  inter- 
est, and  that  he  was  more  occupied  with  what  he  was 
thinking  of  than  with  what  was  said  to  him.  There  is  a 
great  intelligence  in  his  countenance,  along  with  which 
may  be  marked  an  air  of  habitual  meditation  which 
reveals  nothing  of  what  is  passing  within.  In  that  think- 
ing head,  in  that  bold  mind,  it  is  impossible  not  to  believe 
that  some  daring  designs  are  engendering  which  will  have 
their  infinence  on  the  destinies  of  Etirope  !^^ 

"My  extreme  youth  when  I  took  command  of  the  Army  of 
Italy, ' '  Napoleon  remarked  afterwards, ' '  made  it  necessary 
for  me  to  evince  great  reserve  of  manners  and  the  utmost 
severity  of  morals .  This  was  indispensable  to  enable  me  to 
sustain  authority  over  men  so  greatly  superior  in  age  and 


io6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

experience.  I  pursued  a  line  of  conduct  in  the  highest 
degree  irreproachable  and  exemplary.  In  spotless  moral- 
ity I  was  a  Cato  and  must  have  appeared  such  to  all, 
My  supremacy  could  be  retained  only  by  proving  myself 
a  better  man  than  any  other  man  in  the  army.  Had  I 
yielded  to  human  weakness  I  should  have  lost  my  power. ' ' 

At  the  first  interview  between  Napoleon  and  the  veteran 
generals  whom  he  was  to  command,  Rampon  undertook 
to  give  the  young  commander  some  advice.  Napoleon 
who  was  impatient  of  advice,  exclaimed:  "Gentlemen, 
the  art  of  war  is  in  its  infancy.  The  time  has  passed  in 
which  enemies  are  mutually  to  appoint  the  place  of  com- 
bat, advance  hat  in  hand  and  say  :  ^Gentlemen  will  y oil 
have  the  goodness  to  fire  ! '  We  must  cut  the  enemy  to 
pieces,  precipitate  ourselves  like  a  torrent  upon  their  bat- 
talions and  grind  them  to  powder.  Experienced  generals 
conduct  the  troops  opposed  to  us  .  So  much  the  better  ! 
Their  experience  will  not  avail  them  against  me.  Mark 
my  words,  they  will  soon  burn  their  books  on  tactics  and 
know  not  what  to  do." 

Arriving  at  Rastadt  Napoleon  found  that  the  multi- 
plicity of  details  to  be  arranged  was  likely  to  require  a  long 
stay,  and  as  his  personal  relations  with  the  Directory  were 
of  a  doubtful  kind,  he  abandoned  the  conduct  of  the  diplo- 
matic business  to  his  colleagues  and  reached  Paris  after  a 
triumphal  march,  on  the  20th  of  November,  1797.  Dur- 
ing his  absence  he  had  been  the  salvation  of  France,  and 
his  arrival  created  a  great  sensation  in  the  capital.  He 
was  hailed  with  the  most  rapturous  applause  by  the  people, 
the  streets  through  which  he  was  expected  to  pass  were 
thronged, and  wherever  he  was  seen  the  air  was  filled  with 
shouts  of,  "  Long  live  the  General  of  the  Army  of  Italy  !" 


Ill 

EXPEDITION  TO  EGYPT 

On  the  2nd  of  October,  1797,  during  Napoleon's  absence 
in  Italy,  the  Directory  announced  to  the  French  people  its 
intention  of  carrying  the  war  with  England  into  England 
itself.  The  immediate  organization  of  a  great  invading 
army  was  therefore  ordered,  and  ' '  Citizen  General  Bona- 
parte, ' '  the  Conqueror  of  Italy,  was  designated  to  command 
the  forces. 

It  was  some  months  before  this  decision  was  acted  upon, 
however,  and  in  the  meantime  Napoleon  lived  quietly  in 
a  small,  modest  house  in  the  Rue  Chantereine,  which  he 
had  occupied  before  he  set  out  for  Italy.  Shortly  after 
his  return,  on  going  home  one  evening,  he  was  surprised 
to  find  workmen  engaged  in  changing  the  sign  bearing 
the  name  of  the  street  to  "  Rue  de  la  Victoire,"  in  com- 
memoration of  his  Italian  campaign.  He  seemed  to 
avoid  as  much  as  possible  at  this  time  the  honors  of  popu- 
lar distinction  and  applause  that  the  people  heaped  upon 
him.  One  morning  he  sent  his  secretary  to  a  theatre 
manager  to  ask  him  to  give  that  evening  two  very  popu- 
lar pieces,  "  if  such  a  thing  were  possible." 

"  Nothing  is  impossible  for  General  Bonaparte,"  replied 
the  courtly  manager  ;  ' '  the  Conqueror  of  Italy  has  long 
ago  erased  that  word  from  the  dictionary  !" 

This  flattering  answer  afforded  Napoleon  a  hearty  laugh. 
He  went  to  the  performance  and  although  endeavoring  to 
maintain  his  usual  privacy,  was  discovered  and  loudly 
called  upon  to  come  forward.  The  honor  which  he 
esteemed  most  was   his  nomination  as  a  member  of  the 

8  107 


io8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Institute.  He  frequently  attended  its  meetings  and  was 
also  fond  of  appearing  in  the  costume  worn  by  the  mem- 
bers. 

When  congratulated  by  Bourrienne  on  some  noisy  dem- 
onstration of  popular  favor,  he  answered  in  the  words  of 
Cromwell ;  ' '  Bah  !  they  would  crowd  as  eagerly  about 
me  if  I  were  on  my  way  to  the  scaffold  !" 

Wherever  he  went  he  was  still  the  Bonaparte  of  lyodi, 
Areola  and  Rivoli. 

Meanwhile  the  government  gave  him  no  adequate 
reward  for  his  important  services  in  Italy.  He  had  not 
when  he  returned  to  France,  three  hundred  thousand 
francs  in  his  possession,  though  he  had  transmitted  fifty 
millions  to  the  State.  "  I  might  easily,"  he  said  to  Las 
Casas,  ' '  have  brought  back  ten  or  twelve  millions  ;  I 
never  made  out  any  accounts,  nor  was  I  ever  asked  for 
any. ' '  On  the  eve  of  his  departure  for  Egypt  he  became 
possessed  of  Malmaison  and  there  deposited  nearly  all 
his  property.  He  purchased  it  in  the  name  of  his  wife, 
older  than  himself,  and  consequently,  in  case  of  his  sur- 
viving her,  he  must  have  forfeited  all  right  to  the  same. 
The  fact,  as  stated  by  himself,  was,  that  he  never  had  a 
taste  or  desire  for  the  acquirement  of  riches. 

He  willingly  accepted  the  new  appointment  now  pressed 
upon  him  by  the  government,  who  seemed  anxious  that 
he  should  not  remain  in  Paris  to  take  part  in  the  civil 
business  of  the  State.  In  this  latter  direction  he  had  no 
desire  for  continued  service.  In  Napoleon's  own  lan- 
guage, "  the  pear  was  not  yet  ripe,"  and,  like  Caesar,  he 
would  have  preferred  being  first  in  a  village  to  being 
second  in  Rome.  The  first  scheme  of  the  French  Directory 
was  to  make  a  descent  upon  England  and  to  place  Napoleon 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  109 

at  tlie  head  of  the  invading  army,  but  their  counsels  con- 
tinually fluctuated  between  this  project  and  the  Egyptian 
expedition.  Napoleon  said  to  Bourrienne  on  the  29th  of 
January:  "Bourrienne,!  shall  remain 'here  no  longer; 
they  (the  Directory)  do  not  want  me  ;  there  is  no  good  to 
be  done  ;  they  will  not  listen  to  me.  I  see,  if  I  loiter  here, 
I  am  done  for  quickly.  Here  everything  grows  flat ;  my 
glory  is  already  on  the  wane.  This  little  Europe  of  yours 
cannot  supply  the  demand.  "We  must  move  to  the  East. 
All  great  reputations  come  from  that  quarter.  But  I  will 
first  take  a  turn  round  the  coast  to  assure  myself  what  can 
be  done.  If  the  success  of  a  descent  upon  England  appears 
doubtful,  as  I  fear,  the  army  of  England  shall  become 
the  army  of  the  East,  and  I  am  off  for  Egypt. ' '  He  at 
length  resolved  to  bring  the  question  of  the  invasion  to  a 
decision  by  a  personal  survey  of  the  coast  opposite  Eng- 
land. While  there  he  busied  himself  for  a  time  in  sug- 
gesting improvements  in  fortifications  and  in  selecting  the 
best  points  for  embarking  an  invading  force.  Many  local 
improvements  of  great  importance,  long  afterwards 
effected,  were  first  suggested  by  him  at  this  period  ;  but 
the  time  had  not  come  for  invading  England. 

Napoleon  had  suggested  to  Talleyrand,  minister  of  for- 
eign affairs,  some  months  before,  the  propriety  of  making 
an  effort  against  England  in  another  quarter  of  the  globe  ; 
i.  e.,  of  seizing  Malta,  pfoceeding  to  Egypt,  and  therein 
gaining  at  once  a  territory  capable  of  supplying  to  France 
the  loss  of  her  West  Indian  colonies,  and  the  means  of 
annoying  Great  Britain  in  her  Indian  trade  and  empire. 

The  East  presented  to  him  a  field  of  conquest  and  glory, 
and  to  this  he  now  again  recurred.  "Europe  is  but  a 
mole  hill,"  he  said  ;  "  All  the  great  glories  have  come 


no  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

from  Asia  where  there  are  six  hundred  millions  of  men." 
He  soon  returned  to  Paris  and  made  his  views  known 
to  the  Directory,  declaring  that  an  invasion  of  England 
was  a  wild  chimera.  To  Bourrienne,  his  school  compan- 
ion, who  asked  him  concerning  his  contemplated  invasion 
after  he  had  been  on  the  coast  a  week  he  said :  '  'The 
risk  is- too  great ;  I  sha'n't  venture  it.  I  don't  want  to 
trifle  with  the  fate  of  France." 

The  temptation  of  the  Directory  was  great,  and  as  it 
would  find  employment  for  Napoleon  at  a  distance  from 
France,  the  Egyptian  expedition  was  finally  determined 
upon;    but  kept  a  great  secret. 

While  the  attention  of  Great  Britian  was  now  riveted 
on  the  coast,  it  was  on  the  borders  of  the  Mediterranean 
that  his  ships  and  the  troops  really  destined  for  action, 
were  assembling.  Everyone  wished  to  accompany  Napo- 
leon to  the  East —  civilians,  scholars,  engineers,  artists, 
all  wished  to  make  the  journey.  Napoleon  selected  and 
equipped  the  army,  raised  money  and  collected  ships. 
He  was  employed  night  and  day  in  the  organization  of 
the  armament  which  was  to  be  under  his  command  abso- 
lutely. 

In  April  and  May  1798  the  various  squadrons  of  the 
French  fleet  were  assembled  at  Toulon,  and  everything 
was  soon  in  readiness.  The  main  body  was  assembled 
at  Toulon  but  the  embarkmeiit  was  to  take  place  at 
Civita  Vecchia.  When  asked  if  he  should  remain  long 
in  Egypt,  Napoleon  replied:  "A  few  months,  or  six 
years;  it  all  depends  upon  circumstances." 

When  all  was  in  readiness  Bonaparte  called  his  vast 
army  together  and  in  sight  of  the  ships  which  were  to  carry 
them  from  the  shores  of  France,  said  to  his  followers : 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  in 

"Rome  fought  Carthage  on  sea  as  well  as  on  the  land  ; 
England  is  the  Carthage  of  France,  I  have  come  to  lead 
you,  in  the  name  of  the  Divinity  of  lyiberty,  across  mighty 
seas,  and  into  distant  regions,  where  your  valor  may 
achieve  such  life  and  glory  as  will  never  await  you 
beneath  the  cold  skies  of  the  West.  Prepare  yourselves, 
soldiers,  to  embark  under  the  tri-color  for  achievements 
far  more  glorious  than  you  have  won  for  your  country 
on  the  blushing  plains  of  Italy. ' ' 

He  agreed  to  give  each  soldier  seven  acres  of  land,  and 
as  his  promises  had  not  hitherto  been  violated,  the  sol- 
diers heard  him  with  joy,  and  prepared  to  obey  him  with 
alacrity.  They  answered  his  address  with  loud  cheers 
and  cries  of,  'Xong  live  the  Republic!"  The  English 
government  vigilantly  observed  the  preparations  that 
were  going  on, and  kept  a  fleet  in  the  Mediterranean  under 
the  command  of  Nelson.  It  was  highly  important  that 
the  French  squadron  should  sail  without  delay,  in  order 
to  avoid  the  risk  of  being  discovered  by  the  English 
cruisers,  but  contrary  winds  detained  it  for  ten  days. 
This  interval  was  employed  by  NapoleorL  in  attention  to 
the  minutest  details  connected  with  the  finely  appointed 
force  under  his   command. 

■On  the  evening  of  the  19th  of  May,  1798,  fortune 
favored  him,  and  the  troops  were  all  embarked,  while  the 
English  fleet,  under  Nelson,  "the  Neptune  of  the  Seas," 
was  compelled  to  go  into  port  to  repair  ships  disabled  in 
a  violent  gale.  The  French  fleet,  which  was  supplied 
with  water  for  a  month,  and  with  food  for  two  months, 
carried  about  40,000  men  of  all  sorts,  and  ten  thousand 
sailors.  In  the  army  were  many  veteran  soldiers, 
selected  from  the  Army  of  Italy  and  commanded  by  the 


112  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

first  generals  of  France.  Klleber,  Desaix,  Bertlder,  Reg- 
nier,  Murat,  I^annes,  Andreossi,  Junot,  Menou,  and  Bel- 
liard  all  served  in  this  campaign. 

Josephine  had  accompanied  her  husband  to  Toulon,  and 
remained  with  him  to  the  last  moment ;  their  farewell  was 
most  affecting.  As  the  last  of  the  French  troops  stepped 
on  board,  the  sun  rose  with  great  brilliancy  on  the  mighty 
armament — one  of  those  dazzling  suns  which  the  soldiers 
often  referred  to  with  delight  as  "  the  suns  of  Napoleon," 
and  sails  were  immediately  set  for  the  East. 

On  the  8th  of  June  the  convoys  from  Italy  joined  the 
squadron  out  at  sea  ;  on  the  loth  the  whole  fleet  was 
assembled  before  Malta.  The  first  object  of  Napoleon 
was  to  take  possession  of  that  island.  He  had  already 
secured  a  secret  party  among  the  knights,  and  a  very  slight 
demonstration  of  hostilities  spread  consternation  among 
them  and  they  opened  their  gates  to  the  French  without 
delay.  Nearly  all  the  knights  entered  the  ranks  of  the 
French  arm}^  As  the  French  troops  passed  through  the 
almost  impregnable  fortifications  General  Caffarelli  dryly 
remarked  to  Napoleon  that  it  was  fortunate  there  was 
some  one  to  open  the  gates  for  them  ;  had  there  been  no 
garrison  at  all,  it  would  have  been  terrible  hard  work. 

lycaving  a  sufficient  garrison  in  Malta  the  French 
squadron  was  again  under  sail  on  the  i6th.  While  the 
officers  and  savants  devoted  much  time  to  the  discussion 
of  military  and  scientific  topics  the  great  object  of  excite- 
ment and  solicitude  was  to  elude  the  English  fleet.  The 
French  vessels  were  encumbered  with  civil  and  military 
baggage,  provisions,  stores,  etc.,  and  densely  crowded 
with  troops.  Napoleon  was  anxious  to  avoid  such  an 
encounter  :  ' '  God  grant  that  we  may  pass  the  English 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  113 

without  meeting  them,"  he  remarked  to  Admiral  Brueyes. 

Nelson  was  now  in  full  pursuit.  At  Naples  he  heard  of 
their  landing  at  Malta  and  that  their  destination  was 
Egypt.  He  arrived  at  Malta  just  after  they  had  left  the 
island  and  missed  overtaking  them  by  an  accident.  Dur- 
ing a  hazy  night,  on  which  they  lay  off  Candia,  the  French 
were  alarmed  by  the  report  of  guns  on  their  starboard, 
and  it  afterwards  proved  that  those  were  signals  between 
the  ships  of  Nelson's  fleet,  so  close  were  the  two  hostile 
squadrons  to  each  other  without  being  aware  of  it.  Napo- 
leon received  positive  information  of  this  proximity  the 
following  morning  and  ordered  Brueyes  to  steer  at  once 
for  Cape  Aza,  about  twenty-five  leagues  distant  from 
Alexandria.  This  precaution  foiled  Nelson  who  crowded 
sail  for  Alexandria, 

Napoleon  finally  reached  his  destination  on  the  first  of 
July  undisturbed,  the  tops  of  the  minarets  of  Alexandria 
announcing  that  his  point  was  gained.  As  he  was  recon- 
noitring the  coast  at  the  very  moment  that  danger  seemed 
over  a  strange  sail  appeared  on  the  verge  of  the  horizon  : 
"  Fortune  !  "  exclaimed  he,  "  I  ask  but  six  hours  more, 
— wilt  thou  refuse  them  ?' '  The  vessel  proved  not  to  be 
English,  but  French  and  the  disembarkation,  near  a  struc- 
ture called  the  tower  of  Marabout, three  leagues  to  the 
eastward  of  Alexandria,  immediately  took  place  in  spite 
of  a  violent  gale  and  a  tremendous  surf.  Egypt  was  then 
nominally  a  province  of  the  Porte,  and  governed  by  a 
Turkish  Pasha  who  was  at  peace  with  France.  - 

Bonaparte  met  with  no  opposition  in  landing,  and  by 
3  o'clock  in  the  morning  commenced  his  march  upon 
Alexandria  with  three  divisions  of  his  army.  He  had 
little  dif&culty  in  entering   Alexandria,  although  he  met 


114  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

with  resistance  and  General  Kleber,  who  commrinded.  the 
attack,  was  wounded.  The  French  lost  about  two  hun- 
dred men. 

Bonaparte  exacted  of  his  troops,  under  penalty  of  death, 
consideration  of  all  the  laws  and  religion  of  the  country, 
and  to  the  people  of  Egypt  he  addressed  a  proclamation 
in  which  he  said  :  ' '  They  will  tell  you  that  I  come  to 
destroy  your  religion  ;  believe  them  not :  I  come  to  restore 
your  rights,  to  punish  the  usurpers,  and  I  respect,  more 
than  the  Mamelukes  ever  did,  God,  his  Prophet  and  the 
Koran.  *  *  >i<  Thrice  happy  they  who  shall  be  with 
us  !  Woe  unto  them  that  take  up  arms  for  the  Mame- 
lukes ! — they  shall  perish. ' ' 

The  Mamelukes  were  considered  by  Napoleon  to  be, 
individually,  the  finest  cavalry  in  the  world.  They  rode 
the  noblest  horses  of  Arabia,  and  were  armed  with  the 
best  weapons  which  the  world  could  produce  :  carbines, 
pistols,  etc.,  from  England,  and  sabres  of  the  steel  of 
Damascus.  Their  skill  in  horsemanship  was  equal  to  their 
fiery  valor.  With  that  cavalry  and  the  French  infantry, 
Bonaparte  said  it  would  be  easy  to  conquer  the  world. 

Napoleon  himself  remained  some  days  in  Alexandria 
and  left  on  the  7th  of  July,  leaving  Kleber  in  command, 
being  anxious  to  force  the  Mamelukes  to  an  encounter 
with  the  least  possible  delay.  General  Desaix  was  sent 
forward  with  4500  men  to  Beda.  The  commission  of 
learned  men  remained  at  Alexandria,  until  Napoleon 
should  reach  Cairo,  with  the  exception  of  Monge  and 
BerthoUett  who  accompanied  the  commander. 

The  march  over  the  burning  sands  of  the  desert 
brought  extreme  misery  and  unheard-of  sufferings  to  the 
troops ;  the  air  was  full  of  pestiferous  insects,   the  glare 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  115 

of  the  sand  weakened  the  men's  eyes,  and  water  was  scarce 
and  bad.  Even  the  gallant  spirits  of  Murat  and  I^annes 
could  not  sustain  themselves,  and  they  trampled  their  bril- 
liant cockades  in  the  sand  in  a  fit  of  rage  in  the  presence 
of  the  troops.  The  common  soldiers  asked,  with  sarcas- 
tic or  angry  murmurs,  if  it  was  here  the  general  designed 
to  give  them.their  "seven  acres  of  land."  "The  rogue" 
said  they,  "  he  might,  with  safety,  have  promised  us  as 
much  as  we  pleased  ;  we  should  not  abuse  his  good  na- 
ture. ' '  They,however,bore  a  grudge  against  CafFarelli,who 
they  thought  had  advised  the  expedition,  and  used  to  say, 
as  he  hobbled  past  with  his  wooden  leg,  "  He  does  not 
care  what  happens  ;  he  is  sure  to  have  one  foot  at  least  in 
France. ' ' 

Napoleon  alone  was  superior  to  all  these  evils.  It 
required,  however,  more  than  his  example  of  endurance 
and  the  general  influence  of  his  firm  character  to  prevent 
the  army  from  breaking  into  open  mutiny.  "Once," 
said  he  at  St  Helena,  "I  threw  myself  amidst  a  group  of 
generals,  and,  addressing  myself  to  the  tallest  of  their 
number  with  vehemence,  said,  'You  have  been  talking 
sedition  ;  take  care  lest  I  fulfill  my  duty  ;  your  five  feet 
ten  inches  would  not  hinder  you  from  being  shot  within 
tw'o  hours.'  " 

On  the  loth  of  July,  1798,  the  army  reached  the  Nile  at 
Rahmanie  :  ' '  We  no  sooner  saw  the  river, ' '  says  Savary  in 
his  memoirs,  ' '  than  soldiers,  officers  and  all  rushed  into 
it ;  each,  regardless  whether  it  was  sufficiently  shallow  to 
afford  security  from  danger,  only  sought  to  quench  his 
burning  thirst,  and  stooped  to  drink  from  the  stream,  the 
whole  army  presenting  the  appearance  of  a  flock  of 
sheep. "     "  We  encamped, ' '  says  Napoleon,  ' '  on  immense 


ii6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

quantities  of  wheat,  but  there  was  neither  mill  nor  oven 
in  the  country."  The  men  bruised  the  grain  between 
stones  and  baked  it  in  the  ashes  or  parched  and  boiled  it. 

The  army  soon  moved  on  towards  Cairo,  but  the  men 
were  unable  to  leave  the  ranks  for  a  single  instant  with- 
out certain  death  from  the  spears  or  scimitars  of  those 
matchless  Mameluke  horsemen  ;  and,  therefore,  although 
so  near  the  Nile,  several  fell  dead  from  thirst.  But  the 
worriment  of  their  minds  was  their  worst  evil.  They 
began  to  say  there  was  no  great  city  of  Cairo  ;  that  they 
believed  it  would  prove  only  a  collection  of  wretched  huts. 
In  this  state  they  came  up,  on  the  13th,  with  the  Mame- 
lukes at  Chebreis.  They  were  drawn  up  in  battle  array 
under  Mourad  Bey,  one  of  their  most  powerful  chiefs,  and 
were  a  magnificent  body  of  cavalry,  glittering  with  gold 
and  silver  and  mounted  on  splendid  horses. 

The  battle  commenced  without  a  moment's  hesitation  on 
either  side.  Each  Mameluke,  feeling  in  himself  the 
valor  of  a  host,  rushed  in  the  singleness  of  his  purpose, 
as  if  alone  against  the  opposing  mass  ;  and  with  repeated 
charges,  endeavored,  by  every  means  of  unbridled  fury  or 
consummate  skill,  to  break  the  solid  squares  of  the  French 
army.  They  were  at  length  beaten  back  with  the  loss 
of  about  three  hundred. 

After  the  action  at  Chebreis  the  French  army  continued 
to  advance  during  eight  days  without  opposition  of  any 
enemy  except  the  hovering  Arabs  who  lay  in  wait  for 
every  straggler  from  the  main  column.  The  order  of 
march  towards  Cairo  was  systematically  arranged ;  each 
division  of  the  army  moved  forward  in  squares  six  men 
deep  on  each  side  ;  the  artillery  was  at  the  angles  ;  and 
in  the  centre    the    amunition,  the  baggage,  and  the  small 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  117 

body  of  cavalry  still  remaining.  Napoleon  himself  when 
he  rode  always  made  use  of  a  dromedary,  though  he  at 
first  suffered  a  sensation  resembling  seasickness  from  its 
peculiar  motion.  ' '  I  never  passed  the  desert, ' '  said  he 
sometime  later, ' '  without  experiencing  very  painful  emo- 
tions. It  was  the  image  of  immensity  to  my  thoughts. 
It  showed  no  limits.  It  had  neither  beginning  nor  end. 
It  was  an  ocean  for  the  foot  of  man." 

On  the  19th  of  July  the  soldiers'  eyes  were  gladdened 
by  the  sight  of  the  grand  pyramids  on  the  horizon. 
Still  advancing  towards  Cairo,  the  distant  monuments 
swelling  upon  the  eye  at  every  step,  the  army  reached 
Embabe  on  the  21st  and  found  the  Mamelukes  in  battle 
array  to  dispute  their  further  progress. 

While  every  eye  was  fixed  on  these  hoary  monuments 
of  the  past.  Napoleon  sighted  with  his  glass  a  vast  army 
of  the  Beys  spread  out  before  him,  the  right  posted  on  an 
intrenched  camp  by  the  Nile,  its  centre  and  left  composed 
of  that  brilliant  cavalry  with  which  they  were  by  this 
time  acquainted.  Napoleon  perceived,  too,  and  what  had 
escaped  the  observation  of  all  his  staff,  that  the  40  pieces 
of  cannon  on  the  intrenched  camp  of  the  enemy  were 
without  carriages,  and  consequently  could  be  leveled  in 
but  one  direction.  He  instantly  decided  on  his  plan  of 
attack  by  preparing  to  throw  his  forces  on  the  left,  where 
the  guns  could  not  be  available.  Mourad  Bey,  who  com- 
manded the  Mamelukes,  penetrated  the  French  com- 
mander's design,  and  his  followers  at  once  advanced 
gallantly  to  the  encounter. 

' '  Soldiers,  you  are  about  to  fight  the  rulers  of  Egypt, ' ' 
said  Napoleon,  as  he  raised  his  hands  high  in  the  air  and 
formed  his  troops  into  separate  squares  to  meet  the  assault ; 


ii8  MILITARY  CAREER  OP 

' '  from  the  summits  of  yonder  pyramids  forty  centuries 
behold  you. ' '  These  imposing  and  mysterious  witnesses 
were  not  appealed  to  in  vain,  and  the  great  battle  began 
at  once  at  the  foot  of  the  ancient  and.  gigantic  monu- 
ments, the  French  advancing  in  five  grand  squares,  Napo- 
leon heading  the  centre  square.  In  an  instant  the 
Mamelukes  came  charging  up  with  impetuous  speed  and 
loud  cries.  .They  rushed  on  the  line  of  bayonets,  backed 
their  horses  upon  liiem,  and  at  last,  maddened  by  the 
firmness  which  they  could  not  shake,  dashed  their  pistols 
and  carbines  into  the  faces  of  the  French  troops. 

The  first  manoeuvre  of  the  French  army  disconcerted 
the  plans  of  the  Mamelukes ;  still  they  continued  to 
charge.  The  places  of  the  dead  and  dying  were  instantly 
supplied  by  new  warriors,  who  fell  in  their  turn.  They 
daringly  penetrated  even  between  the  spaces  occupied  by 
the  squares  commanded  by  Regnier  and  Desaix,  so  that 
the  desperate  horsemen  were  exposed  to  the  incessant  fire 
of  both  faces  of  the  divisions  at  the  distance  of  fifty  paces. 
Many  of  the  French  fell  from  each  other's  fire  in  the 
resistance  to  this  act  of  desperation. 

Those  who  had  fallen  wounded  from  their  seats  crawled 
along  the  sand  and  hewed  at  the  legs  of  their  enemies 
with  their  scimitars  ;  but  nothing  could  move  the  intrepid 
French.  Bayonets  and  the  continued  roll  of  musketry  by 
degrees  thinned  the  host  around  them.  When  Bon- 
aparte at  last  advanced  with  his  battalions  upon  the  main 
body,  and  divided  one  part  from  the  other,  such  was  the 
confusion  and  terror  of  the  Mamelukes  that  they  abandoned 
their  works  and  flung  themselves  by  hundreds  into  the 
Nile.  The  carnage  was  prodigious,  thousands  were  left 
bleeding  on  the  sands,  and  multitudes  more  were  drowned. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  119 

It  was  the  custom  of  the  Mamelukes  to  carry  their  treas- 
ures with  them  on  their  bodies  when  they  went  to  battle, 
and  every  one  that  fell  made  a  French  soldier  rich 
for  life,  as  the  bodies  of  the  slain  were  all  rifled.  In  his 
report  of  the  engagement,  Bonaparte  said  :  ' '  After  the 
great  number  of  battles  in  which  the  troops  I  command 
have  been  opposed  to  superior  strength,  I  cannot  but 
praise  their  discipline  and  coolness  on  this  occasion  ;  for 
this  novel  species  of  warfare  has  made  them  display  a 
patience  contrasting  oddly  with  French  impetuosity.  If 
they  had  given  way  to  their  ardor,  they  would  not  have 
gained  the  victory,  which  was  only  to  be  obtained  by 
great  calmness  and  patience.  The  cavalry  of  the  Mame- 
lukes evinced  great  bravery.  They  defended  their  for- 
tunes ;  for  there  was  not  one  of  them  upon  whom  our  sol- 
diers did  not  find  three,  four  or  five  hundred  gold  pieces. " 
Savary,  who  fought  in  Desaix's  division,  which  had  Xo 
stand  the  first  attack  of  the  Mamelukes,  has  given  a  strik- 
.  ing  description  of  the  impression  produced  by  their  furi- 
ous onset.  "Although,"  he  says,  "  the  troops  that  were 
in  Egypt  had  been  long  inured  to  danger,  every  one 
present  at  the  battle  of  the  Pyramids  must  acknowledge, 
if  he  be  sincere,  that  the  charge  of  the  Mamelukes  was 
most  awful,  and  that  there  was  reason,  at  one  moment, 
to  apprehend  their  breaking  through  our  formidable 
squares,  rushing  upon  them,  as  they  did,  with  a  con- 
fidence which  enforced  silence  in  our  ranks,  interrupted 
only  by  the  word  of  command.  It  seemed  as  if  we  must 
inevitably  be  trampled  in  an  instant  under  the  feet  of  this 
cavalry  of  Mamelukes,  who  were  all  mounted  upon 
splendid  chargers,  richly  caparisoned  with  gold  and  silver 
trappings,  covered  with  draperies  of  all  colors  and  waving 


I20  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

scarfs,  and  who  were  bearing  down  upon  us  at  full 
gallop,  rending  tlie  air  with  their  cries.  The  whole 
character  of  this  imposing  sight  filled  the  breasts  of  our 
soldiers  with  sensations  to  which  they  had  hitherto  been 
strangers,  and  made  them  vividly  attentive  to  the  word  of 
command.  The  order  to  fire  was  executed  with  a  quick- 
ness and  precision  far  exceeding  what  is  exhibited  in  an 
exercise  or  upon  parade. ' ' 

More  than  fifty  pieces  of  cannon  and  four  hundred 
loaded  camels  became  the  spoil  of  the  conquerors. 

Mourad  and  a  remnant  of  2000  of  his  Mamelukes 
retreated  on  Upper  Egypt.  These  were  all  that  escaped 
with  life  out  of  the  matchless  body  of  men  who  in  such 
superb  array  had  bid  scornful  defiance  to  the  European 
invaders  only  a  few  hours  before.  Cairo  surrendered  ; 
Lower  Egypt  was  entirely  conquered.  Such  were  the 
immediate  consequences  of  the  "  Battle  of  the  Pyramids." 

Many  of  the  promiscuous  rabble  of  infantry  reached 
Cairo  in  advance  of  the  French  and  there  they  spread 
realistic  accounts  of  the  dreadful  power  of  Napoleon  and 
his  army. 

The  name  of  Bonaparte  now  spread  panic  through  the 
East,  and  the  victor  was  considered  invincible.  The 
inhabitants  called  him  * '  King  of  Fire, ' '  from  the  deadly 
effect  of  the  musketry  in  the  engagement  at  the  Pyramids 
which  decided  the  conquest  of  the  country.  By  the 
earliest  dawn  the  victor  prepared  to  take  possession  of  the 
conquest  he  had  made,  but  was  spared  all  difficulties  by 
its  unconditional  surrender.  A  deputation  of  the  shieks 
and  chief  inhabitants  waited  upon  him  at  his  headquarters 
in  the  country  house  of  Mourad  Bey,  to  implore  his  clem- 
ency and  submit  to  his  power.     He  received  them  with 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  121 

the  greatest  kindness  and  informed  them  of  his  friendly- 
intentions  towards  them  and  that  hishostiHtywas  entirely- 
confined  to  the  Mamelukes. 

Cairo  and  its  citadel  were  immediately  occupied  by  the 
French  troops, and  on  the  24th  of  July  Napoleon  made  his 
public  entry  into  the  capital,  amidst  a  great  concourse  of 
people. 

The  savants  who  accompanied  Bonaparte  on  the  expe- 
dition lost  no  time  in  taking  advantage  of  their  oppor- 
tunities, and  at  once  began  to  ransack  the  monuments  of 
antiquity,  and  founded  collections  which  reflected  much 
honor  on  their  zeal  and  skill.  Napoleon  himself,  accom- 
panied by  many  officers  of  his  staff,  visited  the  interior  of 
the  Great  Pyramid  of  Cheops,  attended  by  many  muftis 
and  imans,  and  on  entering  the  secret  chamber  in  which, 
three  thousand  years  before,  some  Pharaoh  had  been 
interred,  repeated  once  more  his  confession  of  faith : 
"There  is  no  God  but  God,  and  Mohammed  is  his 
Prophet. ' '  The  learned  Orientals  who  accompanied  him 
responded  with  sarcastic  solemnity  :  ' '  Thou  hast  spoken 
like  the  most  learned  of  the  prophets  ;  but  God  is  merci- 
ful." 

Ten  days  after  the  battle  at  the  pyramids  had  been 
fought  and  won,  Nelson,  who  had  scoured  the  Mediter- 
ranean in  quest  of  Napoleon,  discovered  the  French  fleet, 
commanded  by  Admiral  Brueyes,  at  anchor  in  the  Bay  of 
Aboukir.  A  terrific  engagement  ensued,  lasting  twenty- 
four  hours,  including  a  whole  night.  A  solitary  pause 
occurred  at  midnight  when  the  French  ship  Orient,  a 
superb  vessel  of  120  guns,  took  fire  and  blew  up  in  the 
heart  of  the  conflicting  squadrons,  with  an  explosion  that 
for  a  moment  silenced  rage  in  awe.     Admiral  Brueyes 


122  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

himself  perished.  The  next  morning  two  shattered  ships, 
out  of  all  the  French  fleet,  with  difficulty  made  their 
escape  to  the  sea.  The  rest  of  the  magnificent  fleet  was 
utterly  destroyed  or  remained  in  the  hands  of  the  English, 
who  have  since  called  the  engagement  "The  Battle  of  the 
Nile." 

The  ships  were  arranged  in  a  semi-circular  compact  line 
of  battle,  and  so  close  to  the  shore  that  Brueyes  had  sup- 
posed it  was  impossible  to  get  between  them  and  the  land  ; 
but  his  daring  enemy,  who  well  knew  all  the  surroundings, 
soon  convinced  him  of  his  mistake.  The  van  of  the  English 
fleet,  six  in  number,  successfully  rounded  the  French  line, 
dropping  anchor  between  it  and  the  shore,  and  opened  their 
fire,  while  Nelson,  with  his  other  ships,  ranged  along  it  on 
the  outer  side  and  so  placed  the  French  fleet  between  two 
tremendous  fires.  Admiral  Brueyes  was  wounded  early 
in  the  action,  but  continued  to  command  with  the  utmost 
energy.  When  he  fell  mortally  wounded  he  would  not 
suffer  himself  to  be  carried  below.  ' '  A  French  admiral 
ought  to  die  on  his  quarter-deck,"  he  replied  to  the 
entreaties  of  his  friend  Gantheaume  who  succeeded  him. 

It  was  on  his  return  from  Salahie  to  Cairo,  whither 
Napoleon  had  pursued  the  Mameluke  chief,  Ibrahim-Bey, 
and  defeated  him,  that  he  was  met  by  a  messenger,  with 
information  of  the  destruction  of  the  French  fleet  by 
Nelson  in  the  roads  of  Aboukir.  It  was  a  terrible  blow 
to  Napoleon,  who  was  thus  shut  off  from  all  intercourse 
with  France  ;  his  soldiers  were  thus  completely  isolated, 
hundreds  of  miles  from  home,  and  compelled  to  rely  on 
their  own  arms  and  the  resources  of  Egypt.  He  had 
been  so  anxious  about  the  fleet  as  to  write  twice  to_ 
Admiral  Brueyes  to  repeat  the  order  that  he  should  enter 


From  an  Engraving  bj  t .  i 

BONAP.\RTE  Ab  GeNERAL-IN   CHIEF  OF  THE  ARMY  OF  ITALY 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  123 

the  harbor  of  Alexandria,  or  sail  for  Corfu  ;  he  had  also, 
previously  to  leaving  Cairo,  dispatched  Julien,  his  aide- 
de-camp,  to  enforce  the  order  ;  but  this  unfortunate  officer 
was  surrounded  and  killed,  with  his  escort,  at  a  village  on 
the  Nile,  where  he  had  landed  to  obtain  provisions, 

A  solitary  sigh  escaped  Napoleon  when  he  heard  the 
news.  ' '  To  the  army  of  France, ' '  said  he,  "  the  fates  have 
decreed  the  empire  of  the  land — to  England  the  sovereignty 
of  the  seas. ' '  Some  years  later,  on  learning  of  the  results 
of  the  terrible  naval  battle  at  Trafalgar,  in  which  Nelson 
was  again  victorious,  but  which  cost  him  his  life,  Napo- 
leon repeated  this  remark,  adding,  "Well,  I  cannot  be 
everywhere. ' '  The  seamen  who  had  landed  at  Alexan- 
dria were  now  formed  into  a  marine  brigade,  and  made  a 
valuable  addition  to  the  army.  Very  soon  afterwards  the 
Porte  declared  war  against  France. 

^  Public  improvements  of  various  kinds  were  now  begun 
at  Cairo  and  Alexandria  under  Bonaparte's  direction, 
and  many  continue  to  this  day.  In  all  quarters  the 
highest  discipline  was  preserved ;  and  Napoleon 
exerted  all  the  energy  of  his  nature  to  increase 
the  resources  which  remained  to  him,  and  to  preserve 
and  organize  Egypt  as  a  French  province.  ' '  At  each 
step  of  his  advance,"  says-  Savary,  "General  Bona- 
parte quickly  foresaw  everything  that  was  to  be  done  to 
render  available  the  resources  of  the  most  fertile  country 
in  the  world  and  give  them  a  suitable  application."  So 
quickly  had  his  mind  recovered  its  tone  that,  on  the  21st 
of  August  (only  a  week  after  he  had  learned  of  the 
destruction  of  his  fleet  at  Aboukir),  he  founded  an  Insti- 
tute at  Cairo  exactly  on  the  model  of  that  learned  society 
in  France.  Monge  was  president ;  Napoleon  himself, 
vice-president. 


124  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

At  Cairo  a  terrible  insurrection  occurred  on  the  21st  of 
October,  but  it  was  soon  put  down  by  the  French  troops, 
after  a  bitter  struggle  in  which  many  soldiers  lost  their 
lives.  Napoleon  was  in  the  thickest  of  the  conflict  on 
horseback  in  the  centre  of  thirty  Guides  and  soon  restored 
confidence  among  his  soldiers.  Tranquility  was  restored 
in  three  days,  after  which  many  of  the  leaders  were  put 
to  death.     The  others  were  pardoned. 

Napoleon  now  proceeded  to  explore  the  Isthmus  of 
Suez,  where  a  narrow  neck  of  land  divides  the  Red  Sea 
from  the  Mediterranean.  He  visited  the  Maronite  Monks 
of  Mount  Sinai,  and,  as  Mohammed  had  done  before  him, 
affixed  his  name  to  their  charter  of  privileges  ;  he  exam- 
ined, also,  the  Fountains  of  Moses,  and  on  the  28th  of 
December,  1798,  nearly  lost  his  life  in  exploring,  during 
low  water,  the  sands  of  the  Red  Sea,  where  Pharaoh  is 
supposed  to  have  perished  while  in  pursuit  of  the  He- 
brews. '  'The  night  overtook  us, ' '  saj^s  Savary ,  "the  waters 
began  to  rise  around  us  ;  the  Guard  in  advance  exclaimed 
that  their  horses  were  swimming.  Bonaparte  saved  us  all 
by  one  of  those  simple  expedients  which  occur  to  an 
imperturbable  mind.  Placing  himself  in  the  centre  he 
bade  all  the  rest  circle  around  him,  and  then  ride  out, 
each  man  in  a  separate  direction,  and  each  to  halt  as  soon 
as  he  found  his  horse  swimming.  The  man  whose  horse 
continued  to  march  the  last,  was  sure,  he  said,  to  be  in 
the  right  direction  ;  then  accordingly  we  all  followed,  and 
reached  Suez  at  two  in  the  morning  in  safety,  though  so 
rapidly  had  the  tide  advanced  that  the  water  was  at  the 
breastplate  of  our  horses  ere  we  made  the  land."  In 
referring  to  this  narrow  escape  from  sharing  the  fate  of 
Pharaoh,  Napoleon  remarked  tol^as  Casas  :  "  This  would 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  125 

have  furnished  all  the  preachers  in  Christendom  with  a 
splendid  text  against  me. ' ' 

On  his  return  to  Cairo  Bonaparte  dispatched  a  trusty 
messenger  into  India,  inviting  Tippoo  Saib  to  inform  him 
of  the  condition  of  the  English  army  in  that  section,  and 
declaring  that  Egypt  was  only  the  first  port  in  a  march 
destined  to  surpass  that  of  Alexander.  According  to  his 
secretary,  ' '  he  spent  whole  days  in  lying  flat  on  the 
ground  stretched  on  maps  of  Asia." 

After  having  passed  the  balance  of  the  year  at  Cairo 
the  commander  declared  the  time  for  action  had  now 
arrived.  Leaving  15,000  men  in  and  about  Cairo,  the 
division  of  Desaix  in  Upper  Egypt,  and  garrisons  in  the 
chief  towns,  Bonaparte,  on  the  nth  of  February,  1799, 
marched  for  Syria  at  the  head  of  10,000  picked  men,  with 
the  intention  of  crushing  the  Turkish  armaments  in  that 
quarter  before  their  chief  force,  which  he  learned  was  assem- 
bling at  Rhodes,  should  have  time  to  reach  Egypt  by  sea. 

The  hostility  of  the  Porte,  which  would  of  course  be 
encouraged  and  assisted  by  England,  implied  impending 
danger  on  two  points, — the  approach  of  a  Turkish  army 
via  Syria  and  the  landing  of  another  on  the  coast  of  the 
Mediterranean,  under  the  protection  of  British  ships. 
The  necessity  of  forestalling  their  designs  by  an  expedition 
to  Syria  was  therefore  apparent.  In  January,  1799,  two 
Turkish  armies  were  assembled  ;  one  at  Rhodes  ;  the 
other  in  Syria.  The  former  was  intended  to  make  a 
descent  upon  the  coast  of  Egypt  at  Aboukir,  the  latter 
had  already  pushed  forward  its  advance  guard  to  El- 
Arisch,  a  fort  within  the  Egyptian  territory,  had  estab- 
lished large  magazines  at  Gaza  and  landed  at  Jaffa  a  train 
of  artillery  of  forty  guns. 


126  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Traversing  the  desert,  seventy-five  leagues  across,  which 
divides  Egypt  from  Syria,  with  about  twelve  thousand 
men,  one  regiment  being  mounted  on  dromedaries.  Napo- 
leon took  possession  of  the  fortress  El  Arisch  on  February 
1 7th,  after  a  vigorous  assault.  The  march  was  made  rapidly 
and  in  good  order.  Having  resolved  upon  an  immediate 
expedition  into  Syria,  he  did  not  wait  to  be  attacked  on 
both  sides  at  the  same  time  ;  but,  according  to  his  usual  cus- 
tom, determined  to  push  forward  and  encounter  one  divi- 
sion of  his  enemies  at  a  time.  He  addressed  two  letters  to 
the  Pasha  of  Syria,  surnamed  Djezzar  or  "  the  Butcher," 
from  his  horrible  cruelties,  offering  him  friendship  and 
alliance,  but  the  pasha  observed  a'contemptuous  silence  as 
to  the  first  communication,  and  replied  to  the  second  in  his 
favorite  fashion — seized  the  messenger  and  cut  off  his  head. 
There  was,  consequently,  nothing  to  be  done  with  Djezzar 
but  to  fight  him  with  such  generals  as  Kleber,  Bessieres, 
Caffarelli,  Murat,  Lannes,  Junot  and  Berthier. 

Pursuing  his  march.  Napoleon  took  Gaza,  the  ancient 
city  of  the  Philistines,without  serious  opposition,  although 
three  or  four  thousand  of  Djezzar' s  horse  were  drawn  up 
to  oppose  them.  At  Jaffa,  the  Joppa  of  Holy  Writ,  the 
Moslems  made  a  resolute  defense,  on  March  6th,  but  at 
length  the  walls  were  carried  by  storm.  Three  thousand 
Turks  died  with  arms  in  their  hands  in  defense  of  the 
city,  and  the  town  was  given  up  for  three  hours  to  pillage 
more  savage  than  Napoleon  had  ever  before  permitted. 
This  was  followed  by  a  massacre  of  hundreds  of  the 
barbarians  who  were  marched  out  of  Jaffa  some  distance 
from  the  town,  in  the  centre  of  a  battalion  under  General 
Bon,  divided  into  small  parties  and  shot  or  bayoneted  to  a 
man.     Like  true  fatalists  they  submitted  in  silence,  and 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  yi-j 

their  bodies  were  gathered  into  a  pyramid  where  for  half 
a  century  their  bones  were  still  visible  in  the  whitening 
sand. 

Napoleon,  while  admitting  that  the  act  was  one  of  the 
darkest  stains  on  his  name  that  he  had  to  acknowledge, 
still  justified  himself  on  the  double  plea  that  he  could  not 
afford  soldiers  to  guard  so  many  prisoners — estimated  vari- 
ously from  1 200  to  3,000 — and  that  he  could  not  grant 
them  the  benefit  of  parole  because  they  were  the  very  men 
who  had  already  been  set  free  by  him  on  such  terms  at 
Kl-Arisch  after  they  had  given  their  word  not  to  serve 
against  him  for  a  year.  "Now,"  said  Napoleon  at  St. 
Helena,  "  if  I  had  spared  them  again  and  sent  them  away 
on  their  parole,  they  would  directly  have  gone  to  St.  Jean 
d'Acre,  where  they  would  have  played  me  over  again  the 
same  trick  that  they  had  done  at  Jaffa.  In  justice  to  the 
lives  of  my  soldiers,  since  every  general  ought  to  consider 
himself  as  their  father,  and  them  as  his  children,  I  could 
not  allow  this.  To  leave  as  a  guard  a  portion  of  my  army, 
already  small  and  reduced  ia  number,  in  consequence  of 
the  breach  of  faith  of  those  wretches,  was  impossible.  I 
therefore  *  *  *  ordered  that  the  prisoners  should  be 
singled  out  and  shot.  *  *  *  i  would  do  the  same 
thing  to-morrow  and  so  would  any  general  commanding 
an  army  under  such  circumstances." 

Napoleon  now  ascertained  that  the  Pasha  of  Syria  was 
at  St.  Jean  d'Acre,  so  renowned  in  the  history  of  the  Cru- 
sades, and  determined  to  defend  that  place  to  extremity 
with  the  force  which  had  already  been  assembled  for  the 
invasion  of  Egypt.  Sir  Sidney  Smith,  with  two  ships  of 
war,  was  cruising  before  the  port  and  the  garrison  was 
assisted  by  European  science. 


i?8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  French  army  moved  on  Acre,  eager  for  revenge, 
while  the  necessary  apparatus  of  a  siege  was  ordered  to 
be  sent  round  by  sea  from  Alexandria.  Sir  Sidney  Smith 
was  informed  by  Djezzar,  of  the  approaching  storm,  and 
hastened  to  support  him  in  the  defense  of  Acre.  Napo- 
leon's vessels,  conveying  guns  and  stores  from  Egypt,  fell 
into  his  hands  and  he  appeared  off  the  town  two  days  before 
the  French  army  came  in  view  of  it.  He  was  permitted 
to  regulate  the  plan  of  defense,  turning  Napoleon's  own 
cannon  against  him  from  the  -walls. 

Napoleon  commenced  the  siege  on  the  i8th  of  March 
and  opened  his  trenches  immediately  on  his  arrival.  '  'On 
that  little  town,"  he  said  to  one  of  his  generals,  as  they 
were  standing  together  on  an  eminence,  "On  yonder  little 
town  depends  the  fate  of  the  East:  behold  the  key  of 
Constantinople  or  of  India. ' '  '  'The  moment  Acre  falls, ' ' 
he  said  about  the  same  time  to  Bourrienne,  "all  the 
Druses  of  Mount  I^ebanon  will  join  me ;  the  Syrians, 
weary  of  Djezzar' s  oppressions,  will  crowd  to  my 
standard :  I  shall  march  upon  Constantinople  with  an 
army  to  which  the  Turks  can  offer  no  effectual  resistance, 
and  it  is  not  unlikely  that  I  may  return  to  France  by  the 
route  of  Adrianople  and  Vienna,  destroying  the  house  of 
Austria  on  my  way." 

For  ten  days  the  French  labored  hard  in  their  trenches, 
being  exposed  to  the  fire  of  extensive  batteries,  formed 
chiefly  of  Bonaparte's  own  artillery.  On  March  28th,  how- 
ever, a  breach  was  at  last  effected  and  the  French  mounted 
with  such  fiery  zeal  that  the  garrison  gave  way.  Shortly 
afterwards  Djezzar  himself  appeared  on  the  battlements, 
and  flinging  his  pistols  at  the  head  of  his  flying  men, urged 
and  compelled  them  to  renew  the  defense,  which  they 
finally  did,  causing  the  French  to  retreat  with  great  loss. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  129 

In  the  meantime  Junot,  having  marched  with  his  divi- 
sion to  encounter  a  large  Mussulman  army  that  had  been 
gathered  among  the  mountains  of  Samaria,  and  was  pre- 
paring to  descend  upon  Acre,  Napoleon  was  compelled  to 
follow  him  to  Nazareth,  were  he  was  rescued  on  April 
8th.  Here,  as  usual,  the  splendid  cavalry  of  the  Orientals 
were  unable  to  resist  the  solid  squares  and  well-directed 
musketry  of  the  French.  General  Kleber,  with  another 
division,  was  in  like  manner  rescued  by  the  general-in- 
chief  at  Mount  Thabor  on  April  15th,  after  the  former 
had  fought  against  fearful  odds  from  six  in  the  morning 
till  one  in  the  afternoon. 

Napoleon  now  returned  to  the  siege  of  Acre  with  all 
possible  dispatch,  pressed  it  on  with  desperate  assaults  day 
after  day,  losing  many  of  his  best  soldiers.  Accustomed 
to  the  easy  victories  which  he  had  obtained  on  every 
encounter  with  the  Turkish  forces  in  Syria,  he  was  not 
prepared  to  expect  the  determined  resistance  by  which  his 
progress  was  now  arrested.  Acre  is  surrounded  by  a  wall 
flanked  with  towers,  and  was  further  defended  by  a  broad 
and  deep  ditch  with  strong  works.  At  one  time  the 
French  succeeded  in  forcing  their  way  into  the  great 
tower  and  in  establishing  themselves  in  one  part  of  it  for 
a  time  despite  all  opposition  ;  but  they  were  finally  dis- 
lodged ;  each  advantage  ended  with  itself  and  no  progress 
was  made  towards  subduing  the  place.  At  another  time  a 
break  was  made  in  the  walls  in  a  distant  part  of  the  town, 
and  a  French  party  entered  Acre  at  the  opening.  Djezzar 
then  threw  such  a  crowd  of  Turks  upon  them  that  all  dis- 
cipline was  lost  and  nearly  every  French  soldier  met  death. 
The  brave  Lannes,  who  headed  the  party,  was  with  diffi- 
culty rescued  after  being  desperately  wounded. 


I30  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

During  this  siege  Napoleon  sent  an  officer  with  an 
order  to  the  most  exposed  position ;  he  was  killed. 
He  sent  another,  who  was  also  killed ;  and  so  with 
a  third.  The  order  was  imperative  and  Bonaparte  had 
but  two  aides  with  him,  Eugene  Beauharnais  and  Laval- 
ette.  He  signaled  to  the  latter  to  come  forward,  and  said 
to  him  in  a  low  voice,  so  that  Eugene  could  not  hear  : 
"  Take  this  order,  Lavalette,  I  don't  want  to  send  this 
boy  and  have  him  killed  so  young  ;  his  mother  (Josephine) 
has  intrusted  him  to  me.  You  know  what  life  is.  Go  !" 
The  aide  returned  in  safety. 

On  another  occasion  during  the  siege  a  piece  of 
shell  struck  Eugene  on  the  head :  he  fell,  and  lay 
for  a  long  time  under  the  ruins  of  a  wall  which  the 
shell  had  knocked  down.  Bonaparte  thought  he  was 
killed,  and  uttered  a  cry  of  grief.  The  youth  was  only 
wounded,  however,  and  at  the  end  of  nineteen  days 
asked  leave  to  return  to  his  post,  in  order  to  take  part  in 
the  other  assaults,  which  failed  like  the  first,  in  spite  of 
Bonaparte's  obstinacy.  "  This  wretched  hole, "  said  he, 
' '  has  cost  me  a  good  deal  of  time  and  a  great  many  men, 
but  things  have  gone  too  far  ;  I  must  try  one  last  assault. ' ' 

An  instance  of  the  enthusiastic  attachment  which  Napo- 
leon was  capable  of  inspiring  occurred  during  this  memor- 
able siege.  One  day,  when  the  commander  was  in  the 
trenches,  a  shell  thrown  by  Sir  Sidney  Smith,  fell  at  his 
feet.  Two  grenadiers  immediately  rushed  towards  him, — 
placed  him  between  them,  and  raised  their  arms  above 
his  head  so  as  to  completely  cover  every  part  of  his  body. 
The  shell  burst  without  injuring  one  of  the  group, 
although  they  were  covered  with  sand.  Both  these  gren- 
adiers were  made  officers   immediately  ;    one   of   them. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  131 

subsequently,  was  the  General  Dumesnil,  so  much  talked 
of  18 14,  for  his  resolute  defense  of  Vincennes  against  the 
Russians.  He  had  lost  a  leg  in  the  campaign  of  Moscow  ; 
and  to  the  summons  to  surrender  he  replied,  ' '  Give  me 
back  my  leg  and  I  will  give  up  the  fortress  ! ' '  The  fate 
of  his  heroic  companion  is  not  recorded. 

The  siege  had  now  continued  for  sixty  days.  Napoleon 
once  more  commanded  an  assault  on  the  8th  of  May,  and 
his  officers  and  soldiers  obeyed  him  with  devoted  but 
fruitless  gallantry.  "That  Sidney  Smith,"  he  said  later, 
'  'made  me  miss  my  fortune. ' '  The  loss  his  army  had  by 
this  time  undergone  was  very  great,  and  the  hearts  of 
all  the  men  were  quickly  sinking. 

Among  the  officers  and  men  who  fell  on  this  memorable 
8th  of  May  was  Croisier,  the  aide-de-camp,  who  had 
incurred  the  commander's  displeasure  at  Jaffa.  Napoleon 
had  once  before  been  violently  irritated  against  him  for 
some  seeming  neglect  at  Cairo,  and  the  word  "coward" 
had  escaped  him.  The  feelings  of  Croisier,  then  deeply 
affected  had  become  insupportable  since  the  event  at  Jaffa, 
and  he  sought  death  at  every  opportunity.  On  this  day 
Napoleon  observed  the  tall  figure  of  his  unfortunate  aide- 
de-camp  mounted  on  a  battery,  exposed  to  the  thickest 
of -the  enemy's  fire,  and  called  loudly  and  imperatively, 
"Croisier,  come  down!  you  have  no  business  there." 
Croisier  neither  replied  nor  moved  ;  the  next  instant  he 
received  his  death  wound. 

A  Turkish  fleet  had  now  arrived  to  reinforce  Djezzar, 
and  upon  the  utter  failure  of  the  attack  of  the  21st  of  May, 
the  eleventh  different  attempt  to  carry  the  place  by  assault, 
Napoleon  yielded  to  stern  necessity,  raised  the  siege,  and 
began  his  retreat  upon  Jaffa.     On  leaving  this  latter  place 


132  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

some  six  days  after,  a  number  of  plague  patients  in  the 
hospitals  were  found  to  be  in  a  state  that  held  out  no  hope 
of  their  recovery,  and  the  commander,  unwilling  to  leave 
them  to  the  cruel  practices  of  the  Turks,  suggested  that 
opium  be  administered  by  one  of  the  medical  staff  as  a 
speedy  death. 

The  various  accounts  of  this  incident  in  no  way  agree 
in  detail.  Bonaparte  denied  at  St.  Helena  that  the  opium 
was  given,  but  said  that  the  patients,  seven  in  number 
were  abandoned.  He  declared  also,  that  if  his  own  son 
had  been  among  the  number  he  would  have  advised  that 
it  be  done  rather  than  to  leave  them  to  suffer  the  tortures 
of  the  Turks.  Sir  Sidney  Smith  found  seven  alive  in  the 
hospitals  when  he  came  up.  A  rear  guard  had  been  left 
to  protect  them  and  they  probably  galloped  off  before 
the  English  entered  the  place.  Bourrienne,  who  acted 
as  secretary  to  Napoleon  at  this  time,  gives  a  different 
account,  while  others  assert  that  500  men  were  thus  dis- 
posed of.  The  real  facts  will  probably  never  be  known 
although  both  Hazlitt  and  Sir  Walter  Scott  acquit  Napo- 
leon of  all  blame  after  a  careful  investigation  of  all  the 
facts.  That  Bonaparte's  motives  were  good  his  enemies 
generally  admit,  as  he  seems  to  have  designed,  by  short- 
ening these  men's  lives,  to  do  them  the  best  service  in 
his  power. 

The  retreating  march  was  a  continued  scene  of  misery; 
the  wounded  and  sick  were  many,  the  heat  oppressive, 
and  the  burdens  almost  intolerable.  Dejected  by  the 
sight  of  so  much  suffering  Napoleon  issued  an  order  that 
every  horse,  mule  and  camel  should  be  given  up  to  the 
sick,  wounded  and  infected.  Shortly  afterwards  one  of 
his  attendants  came   to  ask  which   horse  he  wished   to 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  133 

reserve  for  himself.  "Scoundrel!  "  the  commander  cried, 
'  'do  you  not  know  the  order  ?  L^et  every  one  march  on 
foot — I  the  first!  Begone!"  He  accordingly,  during  the 
rest  of  the  march,  walked  by  the  side  of  the  sick,  cheer- 
ing them  to  hope  for  recovery,  and  exhibiting  to  all  the 
soldiery  the  example  at  once  of  endurance  and  compas- 
sion. As  he  had  done  in  Italy,  Napoleon  always  shared 
the  privations  and  fatigue  of  the  army  and  their  extremities 
were  sometimes  so  great  that  the  troops  were  compelled  to 
contend  with  each  other  for  the  smallest  comforts.  Upon 
one  occasion  in  the  desert,  the  soldiers  would  scarcely  allow 
their  general  to  dip  his  hands  in  a  muddy  pool  of  water  ; 
and  when  passing  the  ruins  of  Pelusium,  almost  suffo- 
cated by  heat,  a  soldier  yielded  him  the  ruins  of  an 
ancient  doorway  beneath  which  he  contrived  to  shade  his 
head  for  a  few  minutes  and  which  Napoleon  observed, 
'  'was  no  trifling  favor. ' ' 

On  the  march  between  Cesarea  and  Jaffa,  Napoleon 
very  narrowly  escaped  death.  Many  of  the  men  had 
by  this  time  regained  their  horses,  owing  to  the  continual 
death  of  the  wretched  objects  who  had  been  mounted 
upon  them.  The  commander  was  so  exhausted  that  he 
had  fallen  asleep  on  his  horse.  A  little  before  daybreak,  a 
native,  concealed  among  the  bushes  close  to  the  road- 
side, took  aim  at  his  head,  and  fired.  The  ball  missed  : 
the  man  was  pursued,  caught  and  ordered  to  be  instantly 
shot.  Four  Guides  drew  their  triggers,  but  all  their  car- 
bines hung  fire,  owing  to  the  extreme  humidity  of  the 
night.  The  Syrian  leaped  into  the  sea,  which  was  close 
to  the  road  ;  swam  to  a  ledge  of  rocks,  which  he  mounted 
and  there  stood,  undaunted  and  untouched  by  the  shots 
of  the  whole  troop,  who  fired  at  him  as  they  pleased. 


134  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Napoleon  left  Bourrienne  behind  to  wait  for  Kleber,  who 
formed  the  rear  guard  and  to  order  him  "not  to  forget  the 
Naplousian."      It  is  not  certain  that  he  was  shot  at  last. 

On  his  return  to  Cairo  on  the  14th  of  June,  1799, 
after  a  march  of  twenty-five  days,  Napoleon  once 
more  re-established  himself  in  his  former  headquarters  ; 
but  he  had  not  long  occupied  himself  with  the  establish- 
ment of  a  new  government  for  Egypt  which  was  then  in 
a  state  of  perfect  tranquility,  when  word  came  to  him  of  a 
probable  uprising  at  Alexandria.  The  commander 
therefore  decided  to  go  there  at  once.  He  arrived  on  the 
24th  of  July  and  found  his  army  posted  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  Aboukir,  prepared  to  anticipate  an  attack  of 
the  Turks  which  had  appeared  off  Aboukir  under  the 
protection  of  two  British  ships  commanded  by  Sir  Sidney 
Smith,  on  the  morrow.  Surveying  their  intrenched  camp 
from  the  heights  above,  the  commander  said  to  Murat ; 
"Go  how  it  may,  the  battle  of  tomorrow  will  decide  the 
fate  of  the  world."  "Of  this  army  at  least,"  answered 
Murat;  "but  the  Turks  have  no  cavalry,  and  if  ever 
infantry  were  charged  to  the  teeth  by  horse,  they  shall  be 
so  by  mine,"  a  promise  which  the  brave  cavalry  leader 
made  good. 

Next  morning  the  Turkish  outposts  were  attacked  and 
the  enemy  driven  in  with  great  slaughter.  The  retreat 
might  have  ended  in  a  rout  but  for  the  eagerness  of  the 
enemy  who  engaged  in  the  task  of  spoiling  and  maiming 
those  who  fell  before  them.  This  gave  to  Murat  the 
opportunity  of  charging  the  main  body, — which  had  been 
drawn  up  in  battle  array  on  the  field, — in  flank  with  his 
cavalry.  From  that  moment  the  engagement  was  no 
longer  a  battle  but  a  massacre.     The  French  infantry, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  135 

under  the  rallying  eye  of  Napoleon,  forced  a  passage  to 
the  intrenchments,  and  attacking  the  Turks  on  all  sides, 
caused  them  to  throw  themselves  headlong  into  the 
the  waves,  rather  than  await  the  fury  of  the  French 
cavalry  and  the  steady  fire  of  the  artillery.  The  sea  at 
first  appeared  literally  covered  with  turbans.  It  was  only 
when  weary  with  slaughter  that  quarter  was  given  to 
about  6,000  men — the  rest  of  the  Turkish  army,  consist- 
ing of  18,000  having  perished  on  the  field  or  in  the  sea. 
Six  thousand  were  taken  prisoners. 

The  defeat  of  the  Turks  at  Aboukir  filled  the  French 
soldiers  at  Cairo  with  extreme  rapture ;  Murat  was 
promoted  to  the  rank  of  a  general  of  division  and 
Napoleon  ordered  his  name  and  that  of  Roize  and  the 
numbers  of  the  regiments  of  cavalry  present  at  the  battle, 
engraved  upon  pieces  of  brass  cannon.  Mustapha  Pasha, 
the  commanding  general  of  the  Turks,  on  being  brought 
into  the  presence  of  his  victor,  was  saluted  with  these 
words  :  "It  has  been  your  fate  to  lose  this  day  ;  but  I 
will  take  care  to  inform  the  sultan  of  the  courage  with 
which  you  have  contested  it. ' ' 

' '  Spare  thyself  that  trouble. ' '  answered  the  proud  pasha, 
"  my  master  knows  me  better  than  thou."  On  the  even- 
ing after  the  battle.  General  Kleber  embraced  Bonaparte 
and  said  to  him,  ' '  General,  you  are  as  great  as  the 
world  !"  "  It  is  not  written  on  high  that  I  am  to  perish 
by  the  hands  of  the  Arabs,"  replied  Napoleon. 

This  splendid  and  most  decisive  victory  at  Aboukir  con- 
cluded Bonaparte's  career  in  the  East.  It  was  imperiously 
necessary,  ere  he  could  have  ventured  to  quit  the  command 
of  the  army,  that  he  should  have  to  his  credit  some  such 
glory    after    the  retreat  from    Syria.     It  preserved  his 


f36  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

credit  with  the  public  and  enabled  him  to  state  that 
he  left  Egypt  for  the  time  in  .  absolute  security. 
After  the  engagement  Napoleon  sent  a  flag  of  truce 
to  Sir  Sidney  Smith,  and  an  interchange  of  civilities  com- 
menced between  the  English  and  the  French.  This 
circumstance,  trifling  in  itself,  led  to  important  conse- 
quences. Among  other  things,  a  copy  of  a  French  journal, 
dated  the  loth  of  June  1799  was  sent  ashore  by  Sir  Sidney 
Smith.  No  news  from  France  had  reached  Egypt  for  ten 
months.  Napoleon  seized  the  paper  with  eagerness  and 
its  contents  verified  his  worst  fears  ;  he  had  said  some  time 
before  while  at  Acre  that  he  feared  France  was  in  trouble. 
As  he  opened  the  paper  he  exclaimed  :  * '  My  God  !  My 
presentiment  is  realized  ;  the  imbeciles  have  lost  Italy  !  All 
the  fruits  of  our  victories  are  gone  !  I  must  leave  Egypt. ' ' 
He  then  spent  the  whole  night  in  his  tent  reading  a  file  of  the 
English  newspapers  which  had  been  furnished  him.  From 
these  he  learned  of  Suwarrow's  victories  over  the  French 
in  Italy  and  of  the  disastrous  internal  state  of  France.  In 
the  morning  Admiral  Gantheaume  received  hasty  orders  to 
prepare  the  two  frigates  Muiron  and  Ca^-rere  and  two  cor- 
vetts,  for  sea,  with  the  utmost  secrecy  and  dispatch, 
furnishing  them  with  two  months  provisions  for  five  hun- 
dred men. 

Napoleon  returned  to  Cairo  on  the  9th  of  August,  but  it 
was  only  to  make  some  parting  arrangements  as  to  the 
administration  of  affairs  there,  for  he  had  resolved  to  in- 
trust Egypt  to  other  hands,  and  at  once  set  out  for  France, 
He  reached  Alexandria  once  more,  and  was  there  met  by 
those  whom  he  had  decided  should  make  the  return  voy- 
age with  him.  He  selected  Berthier,  Cannes,  Murat, 
Marmont  and  Andreossy  with  five  hundred  picked  men  to 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  137 

accompany  him  :  these  with  Monge  and  Denon  proceeded 
to  depart  from  Alexandria  without  delay.     On  the  i8th  a 
courier  from   Gantheaume  brought  information  that  Sir 
,  Sidney  Smith  had  left  the  coast  to  take  water  at  Cyprus. 
This  was  the  signal  for  Napoleon's  instant  departure. 

On  the  morning  of  August  23d,  1799,  Bonaparte  and  his 
chosen  followers  embarked  at  Rosetta  on  two  frigates  and 
two  smaller  vessels,  which  had  been  saved  in  the  harbor  of 
Alexandria.  A  lack  of  water,  and  an  accident  to  one  of 
the  English  ships  had  compelled  the  enemy  to  raise  the 
blockade  and  so  favored  his  departure.  In  writing  to  the 
Divan  and  announcing  his  departure  he  said  :  ' '  Remind 
the  Musselmen  frequently  of  my  love  for  them.  Acquaint 
them  that  I  have  two  great  means  to  conduct  men — persua- 
sion and  force  ;  with  the  one  I  gain  friends,  and  with  the 
other  I  destroy  my  enemies. ' ' 

General  Kleber  was  now  placed  in  command  of  the 
Army  of  Egypt  by  Napoleon  who  informed  his  successor 
of  the  reasons  of  his  departure  for  France,  and  his  inten- 
tion of  sending  recruits  and  munitions  at  the  earliest  pos- 
sible moment.  He  said  to  Kleber,  ' '  The  army  which  I 
confide  to  you  is  composed  of  my  children  ;  in  all  times, 
even  in  the  midst  of  the  greatest  sufferings  I  have  received 
the  mark  of  their  attachment ;  keep  alive  in  them  these 
sentiments.  You  owe  this  to  the  particular  esteem  and 
true  attachment  which  I  bear  myself  towards  you. ' ' 

The  French  frigates  had  hardly  passed  from  sight  of 
land  when  they  were  reconnoitred  by  an  English  corvette, 
a  circumstance  which  seemed  of  evil  augury.  Bonaparte 
assured  his  companions  by  his  usual  allusions  to  his  own 
' '  destiny  ' '  which  he  declared  would  protect  him  on  sea 
as  well  as  land.     "  We  will  arrive  safe, "  said  he,   "for- 


138  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

tune  will  never  abandon  us — we  will  arrive  safe  despite 
the  enemy." 

Napoleon  left  no  responsibility  upon  the  admiral  to 
whom  the  various  manoeuvres  have  been  ascribed  :  "As 
if,"  says  Bourrienne,  "any  one  could  command  when 
Bonaparte  was  present ! ' ' 

By  express  directions  of  Napoleon,  the  squadron, 
instead  of  taking  the  ordinary  course,  kept  close  to  the 
African  coast,  in  the  direction  of  the  southern  point  of 
Sardinia  ;  his  intention  being  to  take  a  northerly  course 
along  the  northern  coast  of  that  island.  He  had  irrevoc- 
ably determined,  that  should  the  English  fleet  appear,  he 
would  run  ashore  ;  make  his  way,  with  the  little  army 
under  his  command,  to  Orin,  Tunis,  or  some  other  port  ; 
and  thence  find  another  opportunity  of  getting  to 
France. 

The  entire  voyage  was  one  of  constant  peril,  for  the 
Mediterranean  was  traversed  in  all  directions  by  English 
ships  of  war.  For  twenty-one  days,  adverse  winds,  blow- 
ing from  west  or  northwest,  continually  drove  the  squad- 
ron on  the  Syrian  coast,  or  back  towards  Alexandria.  It 
was  once  proposed  that  they  should  again  put  into  that 
port,  but  Napoleon  would  not  hear  of  it,  declaring  that 
he  would  brave  any  danger.  On  the  30th  of  September 
he  reached  Ajaccio,  and  was  received  with  enthusiasm  at 
the  place  of  his  birth  ;  but  according  to  his  own  phrase, 
' '  it  rained  cousins  ' '  and  he  was  wearied  with  solicitations. 
' '  What  will  become  of  me, ' '  he  said,  "if  the  English,  who 
are  cruising  hereabouts,  should  learn  that  I  have  landed 
in  Corsica  ?  I  shall  be  forced  to  stay  here.  That  I  could 
never  endure.  I  have  a  torrent  of  relations  pouring  upon 
me. "     "  His  brilliant  reputation, ' '  says  Bourrienne,  ' '  had 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  139 

prodigiously  augmented  his  family  connections,  and  from 
the  great  number  of  his  pretended  god-children  it  might 
have  been  thought  that  he  had  held  one-fourth  of  the 
children  of  Ajaccio  at  the  baptismal  font. ' '  It  was  during 
his  stay  in  Corsica  that  Napoleon  first  heard  of  the  loss 
of  the  battle  of  Novi  by  the  French  army  and  of  the  death 
of  Joubert.  ' '  But  for  that  confounded  quarantine ' '  he 
exclaimed,  "  I  would  hasten  ashore,  and  place  myself  at 
the  head  of  the  Army  of  Italy.  All  is  not  over  ;  and  I 
am  sure  that  there  is  not  a  general  who  would  refuse  me 
the  command.  The  news  of  the  victory  gained  by  me, 
would  reach  Paris  as  soon  as  the  battle  of  Aboukir  ;  that, 
indeed,  would  be  excellent!" 

On  the  7th  of  October  the  voyage  was  at  last  resumed, 
the  winds  being  again  favorable,  and  on  the  morning  of 
the  9th, after  a  narrow  escape  from  the  English, he  moored 
in  safety  in  the  bay  of  Frejus. 

The  story  he  brought  of  the  victory  of  Aboukir,  gave  new 
fuel  to  the  flame  of  universal  enthusiasm,  and  Napoleon's 
return  to  Paris  bore  all  the  appearance  of  a  triumphal  pro- 
cession. The  shouts  of  welcome  with  which  he  was  hailed 
were  echoed  by  the  whole  population  of  France.  He  returned 
from  Egypt  as  a  "  conqueror, ' '  although  almost  alone  ; 
yet  Providence  designed  in  this  apparently  deserted  con- 
dition that  he  should  be  the  instrument  of  more  astonishing 
changes  than  the  greatest  efforts  of  the  greatest  conquer- 
ors had  ever  before  been  able  to  effect  upon  the  civilized 
world.  Napoleon  was  regarded  as  the  champion  of 
liberty,  as  well  as  the  successful  military  leader  ;  and 
none  of  his  actions,  or  expressed  opinions  had  as  yet  con- 
tradicted such  an  estimation  of  his  principles. 

10 


I40  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  campaign  in  Egypt  was  of  little  service  to  France, 
but  to  Napoleon  it  was  most  useful.  Of  the  aides-de- 
camp  whom  he  took  with  him  four  perished  there, 
Croisier,  Sulkowski,  Guibert  and  Julian  ;  two,  Duroc  and 
Eugene  Beauharnais  were  wounded  ;  Lavalette  and  Mer- 
lin alone  returned  safe  and  sound.  Bonaparte  had  the 
highest  regard  for  Josephine's  son  Eugene'.  He  was 
brave  and  manly,  and  although  a  youth  of  seventeen  soon 
won  Bonaparte's  lasting  affection.  If  there  was  a  danger- 
ous duty, —  to  ride  into  the  desert  and  reconnoitre  the 
bands  of  Arabs  or  Mamelukes,  Eugene  was  always  the 
first  to  volunteer.  One  day  when  he  was  hastening  for- 
ward with  his  usual  eagerness,  Bonaparte  called  him  back, 
saying  :  "Young  man,  remember  that  in  our  business  we 
must  never  seek  danger  ;  we  must  be  satisfied  with  doing 
our  duty,  doing  it  well,  and  leaving  the  rest  to  God  !" 

At  the  capital  Napoleon  was  received  with  every  dem- 
onstration of  joy  by  the  French  people,  who  now  looked 
upon  him  as  their  liberator.  All  parties  seemed  to  be 
weary  of  the  Directory,  and  to  demand  the  decisive  in- 
terference of  the  unrivalled  soldier.  On  his  return 
he  was  much  surprised  to  learn  of  the  real  con- 
dition of  France,  and  to  an  emissary  of  Barras  he 
said  with  some  degree  of  feeling  :  "What  have  you  done 
with  that  land  of  France  which  I  left  to  your  care  in  so 
magnificent  a  condition  ?  I  bequeathed  3^ou  peace,  and  on 
my  return  find  war.  I  left  you  the  memory  of  victories, 
and  now  I  have  come  back  to  face  defeats.  I  left  with 
you  the  millions  I  had  gathered  in  Italy,  and  today  I  see 
nothing  in  every  direction  but  laws  despoiling  the  people, 
coupled  with  distress.  What  have  you  done  with  the 
one  hundred  thousand  of  French  citizens,  my  companions 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  141 

in  glory,  all  of  whom  I  knew  ?  You'  have  sent  them  to 
their  death.  This  state  of  things  cannot  last ;  for  it 
would  lead  us  to  despotism,  and  we  require  liberty  repos- 
ing on  a  basis  of  equality."  The  Directory  offered  him 
the  choice  of  any  army  he  would  command.  He  did  not 
refuse,  but  pleaded  the  necessity  of  a  short  interval  of 
leisure  for  the  recovery  of  his  health  and  speedily  with- 
drew from  the  conference  in  order  to  avoid  any  more  such 
embarrassing  offers.  He  had  by  this  time,  evidently,  a 
very  clear  perception  of  the  course  before  him,  and  had 
made  up  his  mind  to  place  himself  in  circumstances  to 
confer  high  offices  and  commands,  instead  of  accepting 
them. 

In  talking  afterwards  to  Madame  de  Remusat  about 
this  period  in  his  career,  Napoleon  said  :  '  'The  Directory 
was  not  uneasy  at  my  return  ;  I  was  extremely  on  my 
guard,  and  never  in  my  life  have  I  displayed  more  skill. 
Everyone  ran  into  my  traps,  and  when  I  became  the  head 
of  the  State  there  was  not  a  party  in  France  that  did  not 
base  its  hopes  on  my  success. ' ' 


IV 

PASSAGE  OF  THE  AI.PS,  AND  BATTI.E 
OF  MARENGO 

At  the  time  of  Napoleon's  return  from  the  Egyptian 
expedition  the  legislative  bodies  of  Paris  were  divided 
into  two  parties,  the  Moderates,  headed  by  Sieyes,  and 
the   Democrats,  by   Barras.     Finding    it    impossible    to 


/ 


142  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

remain  neutral,  Bonaparte  took  sides  with  the  former.  / 
IvUcien,  his  brother,  had  just  been  elected  president  of  the 
Council  of  Five  Hundred  ;  the  subtle  and  able  Tallejrrand 
and  the  accomplished  Sieyes  were  his  confidants,  and  he 
determined  to  overwhelm  the  imbecile  government  and 
take  the  reins  in  his  own  hands.  He  had  measured  his 
strength,  established  his  purpose,  and,  as  France  stood  in 
need  of  a  more  energetic  and  regenerated  government,  he 
now  went  calmly  to  its  execution. 

During  his  absence  in  Egypt  France  had  cause  to  deplore 
the  loss  of  his  military  genius,  and  had  hailed  his  return 
with  rapturous  acclamations.  Napoleon's  intentions  were 
no  sooner  suspected  than  he  was  surrounded  by  all  those 
who  were  discontented  with  the  established  government, 
and  who  found  in  him  such  a  leader  as  they  had  long 
looked  for  in  vain. 

He  soon  opened  negotiations  with  Sieyes  who  com- 
manded a  majority  in  the  Council  of  Ancients,  and  had 
no  sooner  convinced  him  that  the  project  of  overturn- 
ing the  Directorial  government  was  his  object,  than  he 
was  regarded  as  the  instrument  destined  to  give  France 
that  ' '  systematic ' '  constitution  he  had  so  long  deliberated 
on  and  desired.  Napoleon's  overtures  were  therefore  cordi- 
ally met,  and  Sieyes  gave  all  the  weight  of  his  influence 
to  the  impending  revolution.  Two  men  whose  names 
have  since  been  known  all  over  Europe,  were  also  added 
to  the  number  of  his  adherents,  Talleyrand,  who  had 
been  recently  deposed  from  a  place  in  the  ministry  ;  and 
Fouche,  minister  of  police.  The  talents  of  both  were 
actively  employed  in  his  service  and  materially  promoted 
his  success.  He  had  no  faith  in  Fouche  and  used  him 
without  giving  him  his  confidence.     I^ucien   Bonaparte 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  143 

held  the  important  post  of  president  of  the  Council  of 
Five  Hundred  ;  a  circumstance  highly  advantageous  to 
his  brother  at  this  juncture.  It  was  there  that  the  great- 
est opposition  would  be  made  to  any  attempt  which  was 
hostile  to  the  Constitution  of  the  Year  Three. 

A  large  portion  of  the  army  was  certain  to  side  with 
Napoleon.  His  house  was  now  the  resort  of  all  the 
generals  and  men  of  note  who  had  served  under  him  in 
his  campaigns  in  Italy  and  Egypt,  Bernadotte  alone  stand- 
ing aloof. 

A  meeting  took  place  between  Napoleon  and  Sieyes  on 
the  6th  of  November  1799,  in  which  it  was  finally 
determined  that  the  revolution  should  be  attempted  on  the 
9th.  This  date,  called  in  the  history  of  the  period,  the 
1 8th  Brumaire,  was  exactly  one  month  from  the  day  of 
Napoleon's  landing  at  Frejus  on  his  return  from  Egypt. 
The  measures  resolved  upon  were  as  follows :  The 
Council  of  Ancients,  taking  advantage  of  an  article 
in  the  constitution,  which  authorized  the  measure,  were 
to  decree  the  removal  of  the  legislative  bodies  to  St.  Cloud, 
beyond  the  walls  of  the  city.  They  were  next  to  appoint 
Napoleon  commander-in-chief  of  their  own  guard,  of 
the  troops  of  the  military  division  of  Paris,  and  of  the 
National  Guard.  These  decrees  were  to  be  passed  at 
seven  in  the  morning  ;  at  eight  Napoleon  was  to  go  to  the 
Tuileries,  where  the  troops  should  be  assepibled,and  there 
assume  the  command  of  the  capital. 

The  Council  of  Ancients  at  length  gathered  in  the 
Tuileries  at  an  early  hour,  every  arrangement  having 
been  made  in  accordance  with  these  resolutions,  declared 
that  the  salvation  of  the  State  demanded  vigorous  meas- 
ures, and  proposed  through  its  president,    (one  of  Napo- 


144  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Icon's  confidants) — the  passage  of  the  decrees  already 
agreed  upon!  The  decrees  were  at  once  adopted  without 
debate  and  Napoleon  notified.  All  had  occurred  as  had 
been  prearranged.  Early  on  the  morning  of  the  i8th 
Brumaire,  the  house  of  Napoleon  in  the  Rue  de  la  Vic- 
toire  was  crowded  with  a  large  assemblage  of  officers.  It 
was  too  small  to  hold  them  all  and  many  were  in  the 
court-yard  and  entrances.  Numbers  of  these  were  devoted 
to  him  ;  a  few  were  in  the  secret,  and  all  began  to  suspect 
that  something  extraordinary  was  soon  to  happen. 
Every  one  was  in  uniform  except  Bernadotte  who 
appeared  in  plain  clothes.  Displeased  at  this  mark  of 
separation  from  the  rest  Napoleon  said  hastily  :  ' '  How 
is  this  ?     You  are  not  in  uniform  ! ' ' 

"  I  never  am  on  a  morning  when  I  am  not  on  duty," 
replied  Bernadotte. 

"  You  will  be  on  duty  presently,"  rejoined  Napoleon. 

' '  I  have  not  heard  of  it ;  I  should  have  received  my 
orders  sooner, ' '  came  the  answer  quickly. 

Napoleon  now  drew  him  aside,  disclosed  his  plans  and 
invited  him  to  take  part  with  the  new  movement  against 
a  detested  government.  Bernadotte' s  only  answer  was 
that  "  he  would  not  take  part  in  a  rebellion,"  and  with 
some  reluctance  made  a  half  promise  of  neutrality. 

The  moment  the  decrees  of  the  Council  of  Ancients 
arrived  Napoleon  came  forward  to  the  steps  of  his  house, 
read  the  documents,  and  invited  them  all  to  follow  him  to 
the  Tuileries.  The  enthusiasm  of  those  present  was  now 
at  the  highest  pitch  and  all  the  officers  drew  their  swords, 
promising  their  services  and  fidelity.  Napoleon  instantly 
mounted,  and  placed  himself  at  the  head  of  the  generals 
and  ofiicers.      Attended  by  one  thousand  five  hundred 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  145 

horse, he  halted  on  the  boulevard  at  the  corner  of  the 
street  Mont  Blanc  ;  he  then  dispatched  some  confidential 
troops  under  Moreau  to  guard  the  IvUxembourg,  and  the 
Directory  ceased  to  exist,  although  Barras  entered  a  mild 
protest  and  then  retired  to  his  country  residence  to  live 
upon  the  great  spoils  of  his  office. 

The  Council  of  Five  Hundred,  an  hour  or  two  after- 
wards, assembled  to  learn  its  fate.  Resistance  would 
have  been  idle,  and  adjourning  for  their  next  session  at  St. 
Cloud,  they  mingled  with  the  enthusiastic  people  shouting, 
' '  Vive  la  Republique  ! ' '  When  they  assembled  at  St. 
Cloud  the  next  morning  they  found  that  beautiful  chateau 
completely  invested  by  the  brilliant  battalions  under  the 
orders  of  Murat. 

At  about  one  o'clock  on  the  19th  Bruraaire  Napoleon 
appeared  at  St.  Cloud  attended  by  Berthier,  lycfebvre, 
I^annes  and  all  the  generals  in  his  confidence.  Upon  his 
arrival  he  learned  that  a  heated  debate  had  commenced  in 
the  Council  of  Ancients  on  the  subject  of  the  resignation 
of  the  directors  and  the  immediate  election  of  others. 
Napoleon  hastily  entered  the  hall  accompanied  only  by 
Berthier  and  Bourrienne  who  attended  as  his  secretary. 
He  addressed  the  body  with  much  difficulty  and 
after  many  dramatic  interruptions,  told  them  that  it 
was  upon  them  he  relied,  declaring  his  belief  that  the 
Council  of  Five  Hundred —  corresponding  in  part  with 
the  lower  house  of  Congress — would  restore  the  Conven- 
tion, popular  tumults,  the  scaffold,  the  Reign  of  Terror. 
"I  will  save  you  from  all  these  horrors,"  he  said,  "I  and 
my  brave  comrades,  whose  swords  and  caps  I  see  at  the 
door  of  this  hall ;  and  if  any  hireling  traitor  talks  of  out- 
lawry, to  those  swords  will  I  appeal.      You  stand  over  a 


146  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

volcano.  Let  a  soldier  tell  the  truth  frankly.  I  was 
quiet  in  my  home  when  this  Council  summoned  me  to 
action.  I  obeyed  :  I  collected  my  brave  comrades,  and 
placed  the  arms  of  my  country  at  the  service  of  you  who 
are  its  head.  We  are  repaid  with  calumnies — they 
talk  of  Cromwell — of  Caesar.  Had  I  aspired  to  power  the 
opportunity  was  mine  ere  now.  I  swear  that  France 
holds  no  more  devoted  patriot.  Dangers  surround  us. 
Let  us  not  hazard  the  advantages  for  which  we  have  paid 
so  dearly — Liberty  and  Equality  !"  Rallying  at  the 
uproar  which  pursued  him  to  the  door,  Napoleon  turned 
round  and  called  upon  the  Council  to  assist  him  in  saving 
the  country;  and  with  the  words,  "Let  those  who  love 
me  follow , "  he  passed  quickly  out,  reached  the  court- 
yard where  he  showed  the  soldiers  the  order  naming 
him  commander-in-chief,  and  then  leaped  upon  his  horse, 
shouts  of  "Vive  Bonaparte  !"    resounding  on  all  sides. 

In  the  meantime  the  hostile  Council  of  Five  Hundred 
had  aSvSembled,  and  there  a  far  different  scene  was  pass- 
ing. With  the  same  steadiness  of  purpose  and  calm- 
ness of  manner,  Bonaparte  walked  into  the  chamber 
with  two  grenadiers  on  either  side,  who  halted  at  the 
doors  that  were  left  open,  while  the  general  advanced 
towards  the  centre  of  the  chamber. 

At  the  sight  of  drawn  swords  at  the  passageway,  and 
the  presence  of  armed  men  at  the  doors  of  that  delibera- 
tive body,  loud  cries  of  "Down  with  the  traitor  !"  '  'Long 
live  the  Constitution  ! ' '  etc. ,  broke  forth.  Several  of  the 
members  rushed  upon  Napoleon,  some  seized  him  by  the 
collar  and  one  is  said  to  have  attempted  his  life  with  a 
dagger.  In  an  instant  the  grenadiers  rushed  forward 
exclaiming,  "Let  us  save  our  general,"  and  bore  their 
commander  from  the  hall. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  147 

Napoleon  was  quickly  in  the  midst  of  his  soldiers  and 
found  ready  ears  and  enthusiastic  spirits  to  listen  to  his 
excited  words.  "Soldiers,"  he  said,  "I  offered  them  vic- 
tory and  fame — they  have  answered  me  with  daggers." 

It  was  at  this  moment  that  Augereau,  whose  faith  in 
his  former  general's  fortune  began  to  waver,  is  said  to 
have  addressed  him  with  the  words,  "A  fine  situation  you 
have  brought  yourself  into  !  ' '  Upon  which  Napoleon 
answered,  "Augereau,  things  were  worse  at  Areola  ;  take 
my  advice,  remain  quiet ;  in  a  short  time  all  this  will 
change." 

Meanwhile  the  commotion  in  the  Council  of  Five  Hun- 
dred rose  to  the  highest  pitch,  a  scene  of  the  wildest  con- 
fusion was  taking  place  in  the  Assembly,  and  the  grena- 
diers sent  by  Napoleon  once  more  entered  and  bore  I^ucien, 
the  president,  from  his  colleagues.  They  had  charged 
him  with  conspiracy  and  were  about  to  vent  their  fury 
upon  him,  when  he  flung  off  the  insignia  of  his  ofiice  and 
was  rescued. 

lyUcien  found  the  soldiery  without  in  a  high  state  of 
excitement.  He  mounted  a  horse  quickly  that  he  might 
be  seen  and  heard  the  better,  and  dramatically  addressed 
the  assembled  troops  :  "General  Bonaparte,  and  you,  sol- 
diers of  France,"  he  said,  "the  President  of  the  Council 
of  Five  Hundred  announces  to  you  that  factious  men  with 
daggers  interrupt  the  deliberations  of  the  Senate.  He 
authorizes  you  to  employ  force.  The  Assembly  of  Five 
Hundred  is  dissolved. ' '  The  soldiers  received  his  haran- 
gue with  shouts  of,  '  'Vive  Bonaparte  ! ' '  Still  there  was 
an  appearance  of  hesitation,  and  it  did  not  seem  certain 
that  they  were  ready  to  act  against  the  representatives  of 
the  people,  till  lyUcien  drew  his  sword,  and  vehemently 


148  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

exclaimed,  '  'I  swear  that  I  will  stab  my  own  brother  to  the 
heart,  if  he  ever  attempts  anything  against  the  liberty  of 
Frenchmen." 

This  statement  roused  the  soldiers  to  action  and  they 
were  now  ready  to  obey  any  order  from  Napoleon.  At  a 
signal  from  him,  Murat,  at  the  head  of  a  body  of  grena- 
diers, at  once  started  to  execute  the  order  of  the  president. 
With  a  roll  of  drums  and  leveled  pieces,  Lucien  followed 
the  detachment,  mounted  the  tribune,  and  dispersed  the 
Council  of  Five  Hundred.  The  deputies  were  debating 
in  a  state  of  wild  indecision  and  anxiety  when  the  troops 
slowly  entered.  Murat,  as  they  moved  forward, 
announced  to  the  Council  that  it  should  disperse.  A  few 
of  the  members  instantly  retired ;  but  the  majority 
remained  firm.  A  reinforcement  now  entered  in  close 
column  headed  by  General  Leclerc,  the  commanding  offi- 
cer, who  said  loudly,  "In  the  name  of  General  Bonaparte, 
the  lyCgislative  Corps  is  dissolved  ;  let  all  good  citizens 
retire.  Grenadiers,  forward!"  The  latter  advanced, 
leveling  their  muskets  with  fixed  bayonets  and  occupying 
the  width  of  the  hall.  Most  of  the  members  at  once 
made  their  escape  by  the  windows  with  undignified  rapid- 
ity ;  in  a  few  minutes  not  one  remained. 

Lucien  immediately  assembled  the  "Moderate' '  members 
of  the  Council  who  resumed  its  session,  and  in  conjunc- 
tion with  that  of  the  Ancients,  a  decree  was  passed  invest- 
ing the  entire  authority  of  the  State  in  a  Provisional  Con- 
sulate of  three — Napoleon,  Sieyes  and  Roger-Ducos  who 
were  known  as  ' '  Consuls  of  the  French  Republic. ' '  Thus 
ended  the  1 8th  and  19th  Brumaire,  (November  loth  and 
nth,  1799)  one  of  the  most  decisive  revolutions  of  which 
history  has  preserved  any  record  ;  and,  so  admirable  had 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  149 

been  the  arrangements  of  Napoleon,  that  it  had  not  cost 
France  a  drop  of  blood.  "During  the  greater  part  of 
this  eventful  day,"  says  Bourrienne,  "he  was  as  calm  as 
at  the  opening  of  a  great  battle." 

The  next  day  the  three  Consuls  met  at  Paris,  and 
France  once  more  began  to  make  progress.  At  this 
meeting,  Sieyes,  who  had  up  to  this  moment  conceived 
himself  to  be  the  head,  and  the  others  but  the  arms  of  the 
new  constitution,  asked,  as  a  form  of  politeness,  "  Which 
of  us  is  to  preside  ?"  "Do  you  not  see, ' '  answered  Ducos, 
' '  that  the  general  presides  ?' ' 

Sieyes  had  expected  that  Napoleon  would  content  him- 
self with  the  supreme  command  of  all  the  armies,  and  had 
no  idea  that  he  was  conversant  with,  or  wished  to  interfere 
in  profound  and  extensive  political  affairs  and  projects. 
He  was,  however,  so  astonished  at  the  knowledge  dis- 
played by  Napoleon  in  questions  of  administration,  even  to 
the  minutest  details,  and  in  every  department,  that  when 
their  first  conference  was  concluded,  he  hurried  to  Talley- 
rand, Cabanis,  and  other  counselors,  assembled  at  St. 
Cloud,  exclaiming,  "  Gentlemen,  you  have  now  a  master. 
He  knows  everything,-  arranges  everything,  and  can 
accomplish  everything. ' ' 

Those  persons  must  know  the  character  of  Napoleon 
very  imperfectly,  who  consider  him  great  only  at  the  head 
of  armies  ;  for  he  was  able  to  acquit  himself  of  the  various 
functions  of  government  with  glory,  shining  equally  as 
conspicuous  in  the  cabinet  as  in  the  field. 

Napoleon  guided  and  controlled  everything  ;  humane 
laws  were  enacted  ;  Christianity  was  again  restored,  and 
upwards  of  20,000  French  citizens  now  came  forth  from 
the  prisons  to  bless  his  name.     Many  who  had  been  exiled 


ISO  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

because  they  did  not  approve  of  the  Reign  of  Terror  and 
the  despotism  of  the  Directory  were  recalled,  and  many 
other  salutary  reforms  at  once  stamped  the  new  govern- 
ment with  the  seal  of  public  approbation  and  the  confi- 
dence of  Europe.  In  everything  that  was  done  the 
genius  of  Napoleon  was  visible.  A  great  man  was 
at  the  helm,  and  the  world  saw  that  his  creative 
genius  was  regenerating  France.  The  new  constitution 
met  the  approval  of  the  people,  and  in  February  1800  the 
First  Consul  took  up  his  residence  in  the  Tuileries,  the 
old  home  of  the  monarchs  of  France.  Shortly  afterwards 
Napoleon  reviewed  the  Army  of  Paris,  amounting  to 
100,000  men.  When  the  96th,  43rd  and  50th  demi- 
brigades  defiled  before  him  he  was  observed  to  take  off 
his  hat  and  incline  his  head,  in  token  of  respect  at 
the  sight  of  their  colors  torn  to  shreds  with  balls,  and 
blackened  with  smoke  and  powder. 

For  the  first  time  in  modern  history  the  world  saw 
the  greatest  general  of  the  age  the  civil  chief  of  the  most 
brilliant  state  in  Europe,  The  First  Consul  now  held 
frequent  and  splendid  reviews  of  the  troops.  He  traversed 
the  ranks,  now  on  horseback,  now  on  foot ;  entered  into 
the  minutest  details  concerning  the  wants  of  the  men  and 
the  service,  and  dispensing  in  the  name  of  the  nation, 
distinctions  and  rewards.  A  hundred  soldiers  who  had 
signalized  themselves  in  action,  received  from  his  hand 
the  present  of  a  handsome  sabre  each,  on  one  of  these 
occasions. 

The  Parisians  received  the  new  constitution  with  delight. 
The  inhabitants  also  viewed  the  pomp  and  splendor  of  the 
Consular  government  with  suprise  and  self-complacency. 
They  reasoned  little  and  hoped  much.     Napoleon  was  theif 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  151 

idol,  and  from  him  alone  they  expected  everything.  The 
constitution  continued  the  executive  power  in  the  hands  of 
three  consuls,  who  were  to  be  elected  for  the  space  of  ten 
years,and  were  then  eligible  to  re-election.  The  First  Con- 
sul held  powers  far  superior  to  his  colleagues.  He  alone  had 
the  right  of  nominating  all  offices,  civil  and  military,  and 
of  appointing  nearly  all  functionaries  whatsoever.  Napo- 
leon assumed  the  place  of  First  Consul  without  question 
or  debate.  He  then  named  Cambaceres  and  lyeBrun  as 
Second  and  Third  Consuls  respectively. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  Napoleon  learned  of  the 
death  of  Washington .  He  forthwith  issued  a  general  order 
commanding  the  French  army  to  wrap  their  banners  in 
crape  during  ten  days  in  honor  of  "  a  great  man  who 
fought  against  tyranny,  and  consolidated  the  liberties  of 
his  country. ' '  He  then  celebrated  a  grand  funeral  service 
to  the  memory  of  Washington  in  the  council-hall  of  the 
Invalides.  The  last  standards  taken  in  Egypt  were  pre- 
sented on  the  same  occasion  ;  all  the  ministers,  the  coun- 
selors of  state  and  generals,  were  present.  The  pillars 
and  roof  were  hung  with  the  trophies  of  the  campaign  of 
Italy  and  the  bust  of  Washington  was  placed  under  the 
trophy  composed  of  the  flags  of  Aboukir. 

■' '  From  this  day, ' '  says  I^ockhart,  ' '  a  new  epoch  was 
to  date.  Submit  to  that  government,  and  no  man  need 
fear  that  his  former  acts,  far  less  opinions,  should  prove 
any  obstacle  to  his  security — nay,  to  his  advancement." 
In  truth  the  secret  of  Bonaparte's  whole  scheme  is  unfolded 
in  his  own  memorable  words  to  Sieyes  :  ' '  We  are  creat- 
ing a  new  era — of  the  past  we  must  forget  the  bad,  and 
remember  only  the  good." 


152  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

During  the  absence  of  Bonaparte  in  Egypt  the  tri-color 
which  he  had  left  floating  on  the  castles  along  the  Rhine, 
and  from  the  Julian  Alps  to  the  Mediterranean,  had  been 
humbled,  and  England  and  Austria,  with  the  allies  they 
could  bring  into  the  coalition,  were  preparing  once  more 
to  compel  the  French  to  retire  to  their  ancient  boundaries, 
and  ultimately  offer  the  crown  to  the  exiled  Bourbons. 

But  Napoleon  knew  that  France  needed  internal  repose, 
and  he  desired  universal  peace  in  Europe.  He  even  went  so 
far,  in  order  to  bring  this  about,  as  to  address  a  letter  to 
George  III.  in  which  he  said:  "Your  Majesty  will 
see  in  this  overture  only  v^y  sincere  desire  to  contribute 
effectually,  for  a  second  time,  to  a  general  pacification — 
by  a  prompt  step  taken  in  confidence,  and  freed  from  those 
forms,  which,  however  necessary  to  disguise  the  feeble 
.apprehensions  of  feeble  states,  only  serve  to  discover  in 
the  powerful  a  mutual  wish  to  deceive.  France  and  Eng- 
land, abusing  their  strength,  may  long  defer  the  period 
of  its  utter  exhaustion  ;  but  I  will  venture  to  say  that  the 
fate  of  civilized  nations  is  concerned  in  the  termination  of 
a  war,  the  flames  of  which  are  raging  throughout  the 
whole  world.     I  have  the  honor,  etc.,  etc.,  Bonaparte;." 

If  the  king  himself  had  had  an  opportunity  to  reply  to 
this  letter,  as  he  afterwards  admitted,  it  would  have  saved 
England  millions  of  money,  and  Europe  millions  of  lives; 
but  in  a  very  short-sighted  letter,  Eord  Grenville,  then 
Secretary  of  State,  replied  to  Talleyrand,  France's  minis- 
ter of  Foreign  Aflairs,  in  which  he  said  :  "The  war  must 
continue  until  the  causes  which  gave  it  birth  cease  to 
exist.  The  restoration  of  the  exiled  royal  family  will  be  the 
easiest  means  of  giving  confidence  to  the  other  powers  of 
Europe. ' '     The  refusal  of  England  to  treat  with  the  Con- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  153 

sular  Government  of  France  was  to  be  expected,  being 
perfectly  in  accord  with  the  principles  which  guided  th^ 
rulers  of  England  at  that  period.  They  had  joined  the 
other  governments  of  Europe  in  commencing  war  against 
France,  in  order  to  "restore  its  legitimate  sovereign,  con- 
trary to  the  will  of  the  French  people. 

When  Napoleon  read  the  letter  he  said  :  "  I  will  answer 
that  from  Italy  !  ' '  and  immediately  called  his  generals 
together  and  ordered  them  to  get  ready  for  another  cam- 
paign beyond  the  Alps.  It  is  said  that  on  receiving  the 
reply  from  England  Napoleon  exclaimed  to  Talleyrand, 
"It  could  not  have  been  more  favorable,"  but  this  is 
credited  by  but  few  historians  as  it  appears  that  his  sincere 
convictions  were  that  peace  was  best  for  France. 

Three  days  after  the  Grenville  letter,  the  First  Con- 
sul electrified  France  by  an  edict  for  an  army  of  reserve 
embracing  all  the  veterans  then  unemployed,  who  had  ever 
served  the  country,  and  a  new  levy  of  30,000  recruits  or 
conscripts  as  they  were  termed  ;  and  the  most  active  prep- 
arations were  rapidly  made.  At  this  time  four  great 
armies  were  already  in  the  field — one  on  the  North  coast 
was  watching  Holland,  and  guarding  against  any  inva- 
sion from  England  ;  Jourdan  commanded  the  Army  of 
the  Danube,  which  had  repassed  the  Rhine ;  Massena 
was  at  the  head  of  the  Army  of  Helvetia,  and  held  Swit- 
zerland ;  and  the  fragment  of  the  mighty  host  that  Napo- 
leon had  himself  led  to  victory,  still  called  the  Army  of 
Italy. 

Upwards  of  350,000  men  were  now  marched  to  various 
points  of  conflict  with  the  European  powers — England, 
Austria  and  Russia,  together  with  Bavaria,  Sweden,  Den- 
mark, and  Turkey,  which  made  a  formidable  array   of 


154  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

enemies  with  whom  Napoleon  had  to  contend.  The  opera- 
tions were  conducted  with  the  utmost  secrecy-.  Napoleon 
had  decided  to  strike  the  decisive  blow  against  Austria 
in  Italy,  and  to  command  there  in  person.  An  article  in 
the  new  constitution  forbade  the  First  Consul  taking  the 
command  of  an  army  but  he  found  a  ready  way  to  evade 
it.  Berthier  was  superseded  by  Carnot  as  minister  of  war 
and  given  the  nominal  command  of  the  Army  of  Italy. 
It  was  generally  believed  that  the  troops  were  to  advance 
upon  Italy.  Meantime  ,  while  Austria  was  laughing 
with  derision  at  the  French  conscripts  and  "invalids"  then 
at  Dijon  and  amused  itself  with  caricatures  of  some  ancient 
men  with  wooden  legs,  and  little  boys  twelve  years  old 
entitled  "  Bonaparte's  Army  of  Reserve,"  the  real  Army 
of  Italy  was  already  formed  in  the  heart  of  France  and 
was  marching  by  various  roads  towards  Switzerland  and 
was  commanded  by  officers  of  recognized  ability  and 
courage.  The  artillery  was  sent  piecemeal  from  different 
arsenals ;  the  provisions,  necessary  to  an  army  about  to 
2ross  barren  mountains,  were  forwarded  to  Geneva, 
embarked  on  the  lake,  and  landed  at  Villeneuve,  near  the 
entrance  of  the  valley  of  the  Simplon. 

The  daring  plan  of  Napoleon  was  to  transport  his  army 
across  the  Alps  ;  surmounting  the  highest  chain  of  mount- 
ains in  Europe,  by  paths  which  are  dangerous  and  diffi- 
::ult  to  the  unencumbered  traveler  ;  to  plant  himself  in 
the  rear  of  the  Austrians,  interrupt  their  communications, 
place  them  between  his  own  army  and  that  of  Massena 
who  was  in  command  of  the  12,000  men  at  Genoa,  cut 
off  their  retreat  and  then  give  them  battle  under  circum- 
stances which  must  necessarily  render  one  defeat  decisive. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  155 

After  dispatching  his  orders  Napoleon  joined  Berthier 
at  Geneva  on  May  8th,  1800.  Here  he  met  General 
Marescot,  the  engineer,  who  by  his  orders  had  explored 
the  wild  passes  of  the  Alps.  He  described  to  the  First 
Consul  most  minutely  the  all  but  insuperable  obstacles 
that  would  oppose  the  passage  of  an  army. 

' '  Dif&cult,  granted  ;  but  is  it  possible  for  an  army  to 
pass  ? ' '     Napoleon  at  last  impatiently  inquired. 

' '  It  might  be  done, ' '  was  the  answer. 

"Then  it  shall  be  ;  let  us  start,"  said  the  First  Consul, 
and  preparations  for  that  most  herculean  task  were  at  once 
made,  the  commander  intending  to  penetrate  into  Italy, 
as  Hannibal  had  done  of  old,  through  all  the  dangers  and 
difficulties  of  the  great  Alps  themselves. 

For  the  treble  purpose  of  more  easily  collecting  a 
a  sufficient  stock  of  provisions  for  the  march,  of  making 
its  accomplishment  more  rapid,  and  on  perplexing  the  , 
enemy  on  its  termination,  Napoleon  determined  that  his 
army  should  pass  in  four  divisions,  by  as  many  separate 
routes.  The  left  wing,  under  Moncey consisting  of  15,000 
men,  detatched  from  the  army  of  Moreau,  was  ordered  to 
debouch  by  the  way  of  St.  Gothard.  The  corps  of 
Thureau,  5,000  strong,  took  the  direction  of  Mount 
Cenis  ;  that  of  Chabran,  of  similar  strength,  moved  by 
the  Little  St.  Bernard.  Of  the  main  body,  consisting  of 
35,000  men,  although  technically  commanded  by  Berthier, 
the  First  Consul  himself  took  charge, including  the  gigantic 
task  of  surmounting,  with  the  artillery,  the  huge  barriers 
of  the  Great  St.  Bernard.  Once  across  he  expected  to 
rush  down  upon  Melas,  cut  off  all  his  communications 
with  Austria,  and  then  force  him  to  a  conflict. 


11 


156  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  main  body  of  the  army  marched  on  the  15th  of  May 
from  Lausanne  to  the  village  of  St.  Pierre,  at  the  foot  of  the 
Great  St.  Bernard,  at  which  point  all  traces  of  a  practicable 
path  entirely  ceased.  Field  forges  were  established  at  St. 
Pierre  to  dismount  the  guns.  The  carriages  and  wheels 
were  slung  on  poles  and  the  ammunition  boxes  were  to  be 
carried  by  mules.  To  convey  the  pieces  themselves  a 
number  of  trees  were  felled,  hollowed  out,  or  grooved, 
and  the  guns  being  jammed  within  these  rough  cases,  a 
hundred  soldiers  were  attached  to  each  whose  duty  it  was 
to  drag  them  up  the  steeps.  All  was  now  in  readiness  to 
commence  the  great  march. 

'  'The  First  Consul  set  forth  on  his  stupendous  enter- 
prise," says  Botta  in  his  description  of  this  campaign, 
'  'his  forces  being  already  at  the  foot  of  the  Great  St.  Ber- 
nard. The  soldiers  gazed  on  the  aerial  summits  of  the 
lofty  mountains  with  wonder  and  impatience.  On  the 
1 7th  of  May  the  whole  body  set  out  from  Martigny  for 
the  conquest  of  Italy.  Extraordinary  was  their  order, 
wonderful  their  gaiety,  and  astonishing  also,  the  activity 
and  energy  of  their  operations.  I,aughter  and  song  light- 
ened their  toils.  They  seemed  to  be  hastening,  not  to  a 
fearful  war,  but  a  festival.  The  multitude  of  various 
and  mingled  sounds  were  re-echoed  from  hill  to  hill,  and 
the  silence  of  these  solitary  and  desolate  regions,  which 
revolving  ages  had  left  undisturbed,  was  for  the  moment 
broken  by  the  rejoicing  voices  of  the  gay  and  warlike. 
Precipitous  heights,  strong  torrents,  sloping  valleys, 
succeeded  each  other  with  disheartening  frequency. 
Owing  to  his  incredible  boldness  and  order,  lyannes  was 
chosen  by  the  First  Consul  to  take  the  lead  in  every 
enterprise  of  danger.     They  had  now  reached  an  eleva- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  157 

tion  where  skill  or  courage  seemed  powerless  against  the 
domain  of  Nature.  From  St.  Pierre  to  the  summit  of 
the  Great  St.  Bernard  there  is  no  beaten  road  whatever, 
until  the  explorer  reaches  the  monastery  of  the  religious 
order  devoted  to  the  preservation  of  travelers  bewildered 
in  these  regions  of  eternal  winter.  Kvery  means  that 
could  be  devised  was  adopted  for  transporting  the  artil- 
lery and  baggage  ;  the  carriages  which  had  been  wheeled 
were  now  dragged — those  which  had  been  drawn  were 
now  carried.  The  largest  cannon  were  placed  in  troughs 
and  on  sledges,  and  the  smallest  swung  on  sure-footed 
mules.  The  ascent  to  be  accomplished  was  immense.  In 
the  windings  of  the  tortuous  paths  the  troops  were  now 
lost  and  now  revealed  to  sight.  Those  who  first  mounted 
the  steeps,  seeing  their  companions  in  the  depths  below, 
cheered  them  on  with  shouts  of  triumph.  The  valleys 
on  every  side  re-echoed  to  their  voices.  Amidst  the  snow, 
in  mists  and  clouds,  the  resplendent  arms  and  colored  uni- 
forms of  the  soldiers  appeared  in  bright  and  dazzling  con- 
trast :  the  sublimity  of  dead  Nature  and  the  energy  of 
living  action  thus  united,  formed  a  spectacle  of  surpassing 
wonder. 

"The  Consul,  exulting  in  the  success  of  his  plans,  was  seen 
everywhere  amongst  the  soldiers,  talking  with  military 
familiarity  to  one  and  now  another,  and,  skilled  in  the  elo- 
quence of  camps,  he  so  excited  their  courage  that,  brav- 
ing every  obstacle,  they  now  deemed  that  easy  which 
they  had  adjudged  impossible.  They  soon  approached 
the  highest  summit,  and  discerned  in  the  distance  the  pass 
which  leads  from  the  opening  between  the  towering  moun- 
tains to  the  loftiest  pinnacle.  With  shouts  of  transport 
they  hailed  this  extreme  point  as  the  termination  of  their 


158  MILIIARY  CAREER  OF 

labors  and  with  new  ardor  prepared  to  ascend.  When 
their  strength  occasionally  flagged  under  excess  of 
fatigues,  they  beat  their  drums,  and  then,  reanimated  by 
the  spirit-stirring  sound,  proceeded  forward  with  fresh 
vigor. 

'  'At  last  they  reached  the  summit  and  there  felicitated 
each  other  as  if  after  a  complete  and  assured  victory. 
Their  hilarity  was  not  a  little  increased  by  finding  a  sim- 
ple repast  prepared  in  front  of  the  monastery,  the  provi- 
dent Consul  having  furnished  the  monks  with  money  to 
supply  what  their  own  resources  could  not  have  afforded 
for  such  numbers.  Here  they  were  regaled  with  wine 
and  bread  and  cheese,  enjoyed  a  brief  repose  amid  dis- 
mounted cannon  and  scattered  baggage,  amidst  ice  and 
conglomerated  snow  ;  while  the  monks  passed  from  troop 
to  troop  in  turn,  the  calm  of  religious  cheerfulness  depicted 
on  their  countenances.  Thus  did  goodness  and  power 
meet   and  hold   communion  on  this  extreme  summit." 

The  troops  made  it  a  point  of  honor  not  to  leave  their 
guns  in  the  rear;  and  one  division,  rather  than  abandon 
its  artillery,  chose  to  pass  the  night  upon  the  summit  of 
a  mountain,  in  the  midst  of  snow  and  excessive  cold. 

Thus  did  this  brave  army  reach  the  Hospice  of  St.  Ber- 
nard, singing  amidst  the  precipices,  dreaming  of  the  con- 
quest of  that  Italy  where  they  had  so  often  tasted  the 
delights  of  victory,  and  having  a  noble  presentiment  of 
the  immortal  glory  which  they  were  about  to  acquire ; 
as  they  climbed  up  and  along  air)^  ridgqs  of  rock  and  eter- 
nal snow,  where  the  goatherd,  the  hunter  of  the  chamois, 
and  the  outlaw  smuggler,  are  alone  accustomed  to  ven- 
ture ;  amidst  precipices  where  to  slip  a  foot  is  death  ; 
beneath  glaciers  from  which  the  percussion  of  a  musket- 
shot  is  often  sufficient  to  hurl  an  avalanche. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  159 

The  labor  was  not  so  great  for  the  infantry,  of  which  there 
were  35,000  including  artillery.  As  for  the  5,000  cavalry, 
these  walked,  leading  their  horses  by  the  bridle. 
There  was  no  danger  in  ascending  but  in  the  descent,  the 
path  being  very  narrow,  obliging  them  to  walk  before 
the  horse,  they  were  liable,  if  the  animal  made  a  false 
step,  to  be  dragged  by  him  into  the  abyss.  Some  acci- 
dents of  this  kind,  not  many,  did  actually  happen,  and 
some  horses  perished  but  scarcely  any  of  the  men. 

After  a  brief  rest  at  the  hospice  the  army  resumed  its 
march  and  descended  to  St.  Remy  without  any  unpleas- 
ant accident.  Napoleon  rested  and  took  a  frugal  repast  at 
the  convent,  after  which  he  visited  the  chapel,  and  the 
three  little  libraries,  lingering  a  short  time  to  read  a  few 
pages  of  some  old  book.  He  performed  the  descent  on  a 
sledge,  down  a  glacier  of  nearly  a  hundred  yards,  almost 
perpendicular.  The  whole  army  effected  the  passage  of 
the  Great  St.  Bernard  in  the  space  of  three  days. 

The  transfer  of  the  gun  carriages,  ammunition  wagons 
and  cannon  was  the  most  difficult  of  all,  but  the  genius  of 
Napoleon  accomplished  even  this  seemingly  impossible  feat. 
The  peasants  of  the  environs  were  offered  as  high  as  a 
thousand  francs  for  every  piece  of  cannon  which  they  suc- 
ceeded in  dragging  from  St.  Pierre  to  St.  Remy.  It  took 
a  hundred  men  to  drag  each  ;  one  day  to  get  it  up  and 
another  to  get  it  down. 

It  has  been  said  that  Napoleon  had  his  fortune  to  make  at 
this  period;  but,  at  the  moment  of  crossing  Mount  St.  Ber- 
nard, he  had  fought  twenty  pitched  battles,  conquered 
Italy,  dictated  peace  to  Austria, — only  sixty  miles  distant 
from  Vienna, — negotiated  at  Rastadt,  with  Count  Cobent- 
zel  for  the  surrender  of  the  strong  city  of  Mentz,  raised 


i6o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

nearly  three  hundred  milhons  in  contributions, — which 
had  served  to  supply  the  army  during  two  years, — created 
the  CisalpineArmy,  and  paid  some  of  the  officers  of  the 
government  at  Paris.  He  had  sent  to  the  museum  three 
hundred  chef  d'oSuvres,  in  statuary  and  painting  ;  added 
to  which  he  had  conquered  Egypt,  suppressed  the  factions 
at  home  and  totally  eradicated  the  war  in  La  Vendee. 

Napoleon  has  been  pictured  crossing  the  Alpine  heights 
mounted  on  a  fiery  steed.  As  a  matter  of  fact  he  avScended 
the  Great  St.  Bernard  in  that  gray  surtout  which  he  usu- 
ally wore,  sometimes  upon  foot,  and  again  upon  a  mule, 
led  by  a  guide  belonging  to  the  country,  evincing  even  in 
the  difficult  passes  the  abstraction  of  mind  occupied  else- 
where, conversing  with  the  officers  scattered  on  the  road, 
and  then,  at  intervals,  questioning  the  guide  who  attended 
him,  making  him  relate  the  particulars  of  his  life,  his 
pleasures,  his  pains,  like  an  idle  traveler  who  has  nothing 
better  to  do.  "This  guide,"  says  Thiers,  "who  was 
quite  young,  gave  him  a  simple  recital  of  the  details  of 
his  obscure  existence,  and  especially  the  vexation  he  felt 
because,  for  want  of  a  little  money,  he  could  not  marry 
one  of  the  girls  of  his  valley.  The  First  Consul,  some- 
times listening,  sometimes  questioning  the  passengers  with 
whom  the  mountain  was  covered,  arrived  at  the  hospice, 
where  the  worthy  monks  gave  him  a  warm  reception. 
No  sooner  had  he  alighted  from  his  mule  than  he  wrote 
a  note  which  he  handed  to  his  guide,  desiring  him  to  be 
sure  and  deliver  it  to  the  quartermaster  of  the  army,  who 
had  been  left  on  the  other  side  of  the  St.  Bernard.  In 
the  evening  the  young  man,  on  returning  to  St.  Pierre, 
learned  with  surprise  what  powerful  traveler  it  was  whom 
he  had  guided  in  the  morning,  and  that  General  Bona- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  i6i 

parte  had  ordered  that  a  house  and  a  piece  of  ground 
should  be  given  to  him  immediately,  and  that  he  should  be 
supplied,  in  short,  with  the  means  requisite  for  marrying, 
and  for  realizing  all  the  dreams  of  his  modest  ambition." 

This  mountaineer  lived  for  a  number  of  years,  and  when 
he  died  was  still  the  owner  of  the  land  given  him  by  the 
First  Consul.  The  only  thing  remembered  by  this  attend- 
ant in  after  years  of  the  conversation  of  Napoleon 
during  his  trip  was,  when  shaking  the  rain-water  from  his 
hat  he  exclaimed,  "There!  See  what  I  have  done  in 
your  mountains — spoiled  my  new  hat  !  — Well,  I  will  find 
another  on  the  other  side." 

The  passage  of  the  Alps  had  been  achieved  long  before 
the  Austrians  knew  Napoleon's  army  was  in  motion.  So 
utterly  unexpected  was  this  sudden  apparition  of  the  First 
Consul  and  his  army,  that  no  precaution  whatever  had 
been  taken,  and  no  enemy  appeared  capable  of  disputing 
his  march  towards  the  valley  of  Aosta.  After  a  brief 
engagement  at  the  fortress  of  St.  Bard  and  other  minor 
battles  in  which  the  French  were  victorious,  they  now 
advanced,  unopposed  down  the  valley  to  Ivrea  which  was 
without  a  garrison.  Here  Napoleon  remained  four  days 
to  recruit  the  strength  of  his  troops. 

Napoleon  now  took  the  road  for  Milan.  The  Sesia  was 
crossed  without  opposition  ;  the  passage  of  the  Tesino 
was  effected  after  a  sharp  conflict  with  a  body  of  Austrian 
cavalry,  who  were  put  to  flight ;  and,  on  the  2d  of  June, 
the  First  Consul  entered  Milan,  amidst  enthusiastic 
acclamations  of  the  people,  who  had  all  believed  that  he 
had  died  in  Egypt  and  that  it  was  one  of  his  brothers  who 
commanded  this  army.  He  was  conducted  in  triumph  to 
the  ducal  palace,  where  he  took  up  his  residence.     He 


i62  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

remained  six  days  in  Milan  during  which  time  he  gained 
the  most  important  information,  all  the  dispatches  between 
the  court  of  Vienna  and  General  Melas  falling  into  his 
hands.  From  these  he  learned  the  extent  of  the  Austrian 
reinforcements  now  on  their  way  to  Italy ;  the  position 
and  state  of  all  the  Austrian  depots,  field-equipages, 
and  parks  of  artillery  ;  and  the  amount  and  distribution  of 
the  whole  Austrian  force.  Finally,  he  clearly  perceived 
that  Melas  still  continued  in  complete  ignorance  of  the 
Strength  and  destination  of  the  French  army.  His  dis- 
patches spoke  with  contempt  of  what  he  called  ' '  the  pre- 
tended army  of  reserve,"  and  treated  the  assertion  of 
Napoleon's  presence  in  Italy  as  a  "mere  fabrication." 
Possessed  of  all  this  valuable  information  Napoleon 
knew  how  to  proceed  with  clearness  and  precision. 

The  eyes  of  the  Austrian  general  were  at  length  opened 
and  he  was  preparing  to  meet  the  emergency  with  all  the 
energy  that  the  orders  from  Vienna  and  his  great  age  of 
eighty  years  permitted  ;  but  his  delay  had  been  sufficient 
to  render  his  situation  critical.  His  army  was  divided  into 
two  portions,  one  under  Ott  near  Genoa ;  the  other, 
under  his  own  command  at  Turin.  The  greatest  risk 
existed  that  Napoleon  would,  according  to  his  old  plan, 
attack  and  destroy  one  division  before  the  other  could 
form  a  junction  with  it.  To  prevent  such  a  disaster,  Ott 
received  orders  to  march  forward  on  the  Tesino,  while 
Melas,  moving  towards  Alessandria,  prepared  to  resume 
his  communications  with  the  other  division  of  his  army. 

Napoleon  now  advanced  to  Stradella  where  headquarters 
were  fixed.  On  the  9th  of  June,  I^annes,  who  continued  to 
lead  the  van-guard  of  the  French  army  was  attacked  by 
an    Austrian  division  superior  in    numbers    and  com- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  163 

manded  by  Ott.  The  battle,  though  severely  contested, 
ended  in  the  complete  defeat  of  the  Austrians,  who  lost 
three  thousand  killed  and  six  thousand  prisoners.  The 
battle  of  Montebello  was  won  by  sheer  hard  fighting, 
there  being  little  opportunity  for  skill  or  manoeuvre,  the 
fields  being  covered  with  full-grown  crops  of  rye.  The 
shower  of  balls  from  the  Austrian  musketry  was  at  one 
time  so  intense,  that  I^annes,  speaking  of  it  afterwards, 
described  its  effect  with  a  horrible  graphic  homeliness, 
"Bones  were  cracking  in  my  division"  he  said,  "like  a 
shower  of  hail  upon  a  skylight."  I^annes  was  subse- 
quently created  Duke  of  Montebello. 

Napoleon  remained  stationary  for  three  days  at  Stra- 
della,  employing  the  time  in  concentrating  his  army,  in 
hopes  that  Melas  would  be  compelled  to  give  him  battle 
in  this  position  ;  he  was  unwilling  to  descend  into  the 
great  plain  of  Marengo,  where  the  Austrian  cavalry  and 
artillery  which  was  greatly  superior  in  numbers,  would 
have  a  fearful  advantage.  Meanwhile  he  dispatched  an 
order  to  Suchet  to  march  on  the  river  Scrivia,  and  place 
himself  in  the  rear  of  the  enemy. 

General  Desaix  now  joined  the  army  with  his  aides- 
de-camp  Rapp  and  Savary,  he  having  returned  from 
Egypt  and  landed  in  France  almost  on  the  very  day  that 
Napoleon  left  Paris,  and  had  immediately  received  a  sum- 
mons from  him  to  repair  to  the  headquarters  of  the  Army 
of  Italy,  wherever  they  might  be  situated.  Desaix  and 
Napoleon  were  warmly  attached  to  each  other  and  their 
meeting  was  a  great  and  mutual  pleasure.  Desaix  was 
appointed  to  the  command  of  a  division,  the  death  of 
General  Boudet  having  left  one  vacant,  and  was  extremely 
anxious  to  signalize  himself.   Under  the  impression  that 


t64  military  career  OF 

the  Austrians  were  marching  upon  Genoa,  Napoleon 
dispatched  Desaix's  division  in  form  of  the  van-guard 
upon  his  extreme  left,  while  Victor,  arriving  at  Marengo 
from  Montebello,  where  he  had  assisted  Lannes,  routed  a 
rear  guard  of  four  or  five  thousand  Austrians  and  made 
himself  master  of  the  village  of  Marengo. 

The  French,  and  Austrian  armies  finally  came  together 
on  June  14th  on  the  plains  of  Marengo,  to  decide  the  fate 
of  Italy. 

Marengo  was  a  day  ever  to  be  remembered  by  those  who 
participated  in  the  stubborn  struggle.  Napoleon  fought 
against  terrible  odds  in  numbers  and  position.  A  furious 
cannonading  opened  the  engagement  at  daybreak  along 
the  whole  front,  cannon  and  musketry  spreading  devasta- 
tion everywhere — for  the  armies  were  but  a  short  distance 
apart,  their  pieces  in  some  cases  almost  touching.  The 
advance  under  Gardanne,  was  obliged  to  fall  back  upon 
Victor, — who  had  been  stationed  with  the  main  body  of  the 
first  line, — for  more  than  two  hours  and  withstood  singly 
the  vigorous  assaults  of  a  far  superior  force  ;  Marengo 
had  been  taken  and  retaken  several  times  by  Victor  ere 
Lannes,  who  was  in  the  rear  of  him,  in  command  of  the 
second  line,  received  orders  to  reinforce  him.  The  second 
line  was  at  length  ordered  by  Napoleon  to  advance, 
but  they  found  the  first  in  retreat,  and  the  two  corps  took 
up  a  second  line  of  defense,  considerably  to  the  rear  of 
Marengo.  Here  they  were  again  charged  furiously,  and 
again  after  obstinate  resistance,  gave  way.  The  retreat 
now  became  general,  although  lyannes  fell  back  in  perfect 
order. 

The  Austrians  had  fought  the  battle  admirably.  Their 
infantry   had   opened   an   attack  on   every  point  of   the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  165 

French  line,  while  the  cavalry  debouched  across  the  bridge 
which  the  French  had  failed  to  destroy,  and  assailed  the 
right  of  their  army  with  such  fury  and  rapidity  that  it 
was  thrown  into  complete  disorder.  The  attack  of  the 
Austrians  was  successful  everywhere ;  the  centre  of  the 
French  was  penetrated,  the  left  routed,  and  another  des- 
perate charge  of  the  cavalry  would  have  terminated  the 
battle.  The  order  for  this,  however,  was  not  given  ;  but 
the  retreating  French  were  still  in  the  utmost  peril.  Napo- 
leon had  been  collecting  reserves  between  Garafolo  and 
Marengo  and  now  sent  orders  for  his  army  to  retreat 
towards  these  reserves,  and  rally  round  his  guard  which 
he  stationed  in  the  rear  of  the  village  of  Marengo  and 
placed  himself  at  their  head. 

To  secure  a  position  more  favorable  for  resisting  the 
overpowering  numbers  of  the  enemy,  Bonaparte  now 
seized  a  defile  flanked  by  the  village  of  Marengo,  shut  up 
on  one  side  by  a  wood  and  on  the  other  by  lofty  and 
bushy  vineyards.  Here  from  the  astonishing  exertions 
of  their  commander  the  French  made  a  firm  stand,  and 
fought  bayonet  to  bayonet  with  Austrian  infantry,  whilst 
exposed  at  the  same  time  to  a  battery  of  thirty  pieces  of 
cannon,  which  was  playing  upon  them  with  deadly 
effect.  Every  soldier  seemed  to  consider  this  the  defile  of 
Thermopylae,  where  they  were  to  fight  until  all  were 
slain.  With  a  heroism  worthy  of  the  Spartan  band  they 
withstood  the  tremendous  shock  of  bayonets  and  artillery, 
the  latter  not  only  cutting  the  men  in  pieces,  but 
likewise  the  trees,  the  large  branches  in  falling  killing 
many  of  the  wounded  soldiers  who  had  sought  a  refuge 
under  them.  At  this  awful  moment  Bonaparte,  unmoved, 
seemed  to  court  death,  and  be  near  it,  the  bullets  being 


i66  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

observed  repeatedly  to  tear  up  the  ground  beneath  his 
horse's  feet.  Alarmed  for  his  safety  the  officers  exhorted 
him  to  retire,  exclaiming,  ' '  If  you  should  be  killed  all 
would  be  lost. ' '  But  the  hero  of  lyodi  and  Areola  would  not 
retire.  Undismayed  and  unmoved  amidst  this  dreadful 
tempest,  he  observed  every  movement  and  gave  orders 
with  the  utmost  coolness.  The  soldiers  could  all  see  the 
First  Consul  with  his  staff,  surrounded  by  the  two  hundred 
grenadiers  of  the  guard  and  the  sight  kept  their  hopes 
from  flagging.  The  right  wing,  under  lyannes,  quickly 
rallied  ;  the  centre,  reinforced  by  the  scattered  troops  of  the 
left,  recovered  its  strength  :  the  left  wing  no  longer 
existed  ;  its  scattered  remains  fled  in  disorder,  pursued  by 
the  Austrians.  The  contest  continued  to  rage,  and  was 
obstinately  disputed  ;  but  the  main  body  of  the  French 
army,  which  still  remained  in  order  of  battle,  was  con- 
tinually, though  very  slowly,  retreating. 

The  First  Consul  now  dispatched  his  aide-de-camp, 
Bruyere,  to  Desaix,  with  an  urgent  message  to  hasten  to 
tiie  field  of  battle.  Desaix  on  his  part,  had  been  arrested 
in  his  march  upon  Novi,  by  the  repeated  discharges  of 
distant  artillery  ;  he  had  in  consequence  made  a  halt, 
and  dispatched  Savary,  then  his  aide-de-camp,  with  a 
body  of  fifty  horse,  to  gallop  with  all  possible  haste  to 
Novi,  ascertain  the  state  of  affairs  there,  according  to  the 
orders  of  Napoleon,  while  he  kept  his  division  fresh  and 
ready  for  action. 

Savary  found  all  quiet  at  Novi ;  and  returning  to 
Desaix,  after  the  lapse  of  about  two  hours,  with  this 
intelligence,  was  next  sent  to  the  First  Consul.  He 
spurred  his  horse  across  the  country,  in  the  direction  of 
Marengo,  and  fortunately  met  General  Bruyere,  who  was 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  167 

taking  the  same  short  cut  to  find  Desaix.  Giving  him 
the  necessar}^  directions,  Savary  now  hastened  towards 
Napoleon.  He  found  him  in  the  midst  of  his  guard,  who 
stood  their  ground  on  the  field  of  battle  ;  forming  a  solid 
body  in  the  face  of  the  enemy's  fire,  the  dismounted 
grenadiers  were  stationed  in  front  and  the  place  of  each 
man  who  fell  was  instantly  supplied  from  the  ranks 
behind. 

Maps  were  spread  out  before  Napoleon  ;  he  was  plan- 
ning the  movement  which  was  to  decide  the  action.  Sav- 
ary made  his  report  and  told  him  of  Desaix' s  position. 

' '  At  what  hour  did  he  leave  you  ?  ' '  said  the  First 
Consul  pulling  out  his  watch.  Having  been  informed  he 
continued,  "Well  he  cannot  be  far  off;  go,  and  tell  him 
to  form  in  that  direction  (pointing  with  his  hand  to  a 
particular  spot)  ;  let  him  quit  the  main  road,  and  make 
way  for  all  those  wounded  men,  who  would  only  embarrass 
him,  and  perhaps  draw  his  own  soldiers  after  them." 

It  was  now  three  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  ;  had  Melas 
pursued  the  advantage  with  all  his  reserve  the  battle  was 
won  to  the  Austrians;  but  that  aged  general  (he  was  eighty 
years  old)  doubted  not  that  he  had  won  it  already.  At 
this  critical  moment,  being  quite  worn  out  with  fatigue, 
he  retired  to  the  rear  leaving  General  Zach  to  continue 
what  he  now  considered  a  mere  pursuit. 

Napoleon's  army  was  still  slowly  retiring  from  the 
field,  one  corps  occupying  three  hours  in  retiring  three 
quarters  of  a  league,  when  Desaix,  whose  division  was  now 
forming  on  the  left  of  the  centre,  rode  up  to  the  com- 
mander, and  taking  out  his  watch,  said  in  reply  to  a  ques- 
tion :  "Yes,  the  battle  is  lost ;  but  it  is  only  three  o'clock  ; 
there  is  time  enough  to  gain  another  ! ' ' 


i68  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Bonaparte  was  delighted  with  the  opinion  of  Desaix, 
whose  division  had  arrived  at  a  full  gallop  after  a  force 
march  of  thirty  miles,  and  prepared  to  avail  himself  of' 
the  timely  succor  brought  to  him  by  that  far-seeing  gen- 
eral, and  of  the  advantage  insured  to  him  by  the  position 
he  had  lately  taken.  Napoleon  quickly  explained  the 
manoeuvre  he  was  about  to  effect  and  gave  the  orders 
instantly.  He  now  drew  up  his  army  on  a  third  line  of 
battle,  and  riding  along  said  to  the  different  corps  :  "Sold- 
iers !  We  have  fallen  back  far  enough.  You  know  it  is 
always  my  custom  to  sleep  on  the  field  of  battle. ' '  The 
whole  army  now  wheeled  its  front  up  the  left  wing  of  its 
centre,  moving  its  right  wing  forward  at  the  same  time. 
By  this  movement  Napoleon  effected  the  double  object  of 
turning  all  the  enemy's  troops,  who  had  continued  the 
pursuit  of  the  broken  left  wing  and  of  removing  his  right 
at  a  distance  from  the  bridge,  which  had  been  so  fatal  to 
him  in  the  morning.  The  artillery  of  the  guard  was  rein- 
forced by  that  which  belonged  to  Desaix 's  division,  and 
forme^  an  overwhelming  battery  in  the  centre. 

The  Austrians  made  no  effort  to  prevent  this  decisive 
movement ;  they  supposed  the  First  Consul  was  only  occu- 
pied in  securing  his  retreat.  Their  infantry,  in  deep 
close  columnSjWas  advancing  rapidly,  when  at  the  distance 
of  a  hundred  paces  they  suddenly  halted,  on  perceiving 
Desaix' s  division  exactly  in  front  of  them.  The  unex- 
pected appearance  of  six  thousand  fresh  troops,  and  the 
new  position  assumed  by  the  French,  arrested  the  battle  : 
very  few  shots  were  heard  ;  the  two  armies  were  prepar- 
ing for  a  last  effort. 

The  First  Consul  rode  up  in  person  to  give  the  order  of 
attack  while  he  dispatched  Savary  with  commands   to 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  169 

Kellerman,  who  was  at  the  head  of  about  six  thousand 
heavy  cavalry-,  to  charge  the  Austrian  column  in  flank, 
at  the  same  time  Desaix  charged  it  in  front.  Both  gener- 
als effected  the  movement  rapidly  and  so  successfully  that 
in  less  than  half  an  hour  the  French  had  put  the  enemy  to 
rout  on  nearly  all  sides.  A  final  charge  was  now  made, 
when  Desaix,  whose  timely  arrival  with  reinforcements 
had  saved  the  day,  and  who  was  then  in  the  thickest  of 
the  engagement,  was  shot  dead,  just  as  he  led  a  fresh  col- 
umn of  5,000  grenadiers  to  meet  and  check  the  advance  of 
Zach.  But  a  few  moments  before  Desaix  said  to  Savary, 
"Go  and  tell  the  First  Consul  that  I  am  charging,  and 
that  I  am  in  want  of  cavalry  to  support  me."  As  the 
brave  man  fell  he  said:  "Conceal  my  death,  it  might 
dishearten  the  troops."  Napoleon  embraced  him  for  an 
instant,  and  said,  as  his  eyes  filled  with  tears  :  '  'Alas,  I 
must  not  weep  now — "and  mounting  his  horse  again 
plunged  into  the  thickest  of  the  battle. 

The  whole  army  fought  with  renewed  vigor  on  learning 
of  Desaix 's  death,  every  soldier  being  bent  on  avenging 
individually  the  loss  of  their  leader.  The  combined 
forces  now  concentrated  themselves  and  hurled  their  invin- 
cible columns  upon  the  Austrian  lines,  marching  victori- 
ous at  last  over  thousands  of  slain.  General  Zach,  and  all 
his  staff ,  were  here  made  prisoners.  The  Austrian  col- 
umns behind,  being  flushed  with  victory,  were  advanc- 
ing too  carelessly,  and  were  unable  to  resist  the  general 
assault  of  the  whole  French  line,  which  now  pressed 
onward  under  the  immediate  command  of  Napoleon. 
Post  after  post  was  carried.  The  terrified  cavalry  and 
broken  infantry  fled  in  confusion  to  the  banks  of  the  Bor- 
mida,  into  which  they  were  plunged  by  the  French  cav- 


I70  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

airy  who  swept  the  field.  The  Bormida  was  clogged  and 
crimsoned  with  corpses,  and  whole  corps,  being  unable  to 
effect  the  passage,  surrendered.  The  victory ,  which  had  / 
seemed  quite  secure  to  the  Austrians  at  3  o'clock  was  com- ' 
pletely  won  by  the  French  at  six.  Napoleon's  conduct 
throughout  the  day  and  the  bravery  of  his  troops  were 
beyond  all  praise  ;  and  it  is  no  less  a  fact,  that  the  appear- 
ance of  victory  in  one  or  two  parts  of  the  extended  field 
roused  the  courage  of  the  Austrians  to  enthusiasm  and  in 
some  cases  fatal  recklessness  They  pressed  forward  to 
complete  their  triumph  when  the  Consular  guard,  called 
the  "wall  of  granite,"  met  and  successfully  resisted  the 
shock.  The  eye  of  Napoleon  fixed  the  fortune  of  the  day: 
he  foresaw  that  the  enemy,  in  the  ardor  of  success,  would 
extend  his  line  too  far  ;  and  what  he  had  conjectured  hap- 
pened. Then  it  was  that  Desaix's  division  rushed  amidst 
the  all  but  triumphant  foe,  divided  his  ranks,  and  finally 
completed  his  ruin. 

In  this  sanguine  engagement  the  Austrians  lost  about 
8,000  men  in  killed  and  wounded,  and  4,000  more  were 
taken  prisoners —  one-third  of  their  army.  The  life  of 
Desaix  was  the  sacrifice.  The  French  loss  amounted  to 
6,000  killed  or  wounded  and  about  1,000  of  them  were 
taken  prisoners,  a  loss  of  about  one-fourth  out  of  28,000 
soldiers  present  at  the  battle. 

In  the  estimation  of  the  First  Consul  this  loss  was  great 
enough  to  diminish  the  joy  that  he  felt  for  the  victory. 
When  Bourrienne,  his  secretary,  congratulated  him  on 
his  triumph  saying,  "What  a  glorious  day  !  "  he  replied  : 
"Yes  it  would  have  been  glorious  indeed,  could  I  but 
have  embraced  Desaix  this  evening  on  the  field  of  battle. 
I  was  going  to  make  him  minister  of  war  ;  I  would  have 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  171 

made  him  a  prince  if  I  could."  The  triumph  of  this 
decisive  victory  was  poisoned  by  Desaix's  death.  It 
seems  that  he  never  loved,  nor  regretted,  any  man  so 
much  and  he  never  spoke  of  him  without  deep  feeling. 
Desaix  met  his  death  at  the  early  age  of  thirty-three, 
and  France  lost  in  him  a  great  general  and  a  man  of  rare 
promise.  Savary,  who  was  much  attached  to  him,  sought 
for  his  body  amongst  the  dead,  and  found  him  completely 
stripped  of  his  clothes,  lying  among  many  others  in  the 
same  condition.  "  France  has  lost  one  one  of  her  most 
able  defenders  and  I  my  best  friend, ' '  Napoleon  said  after 
the  battle;  "  No  one  has  ever  known  how  much  good- 
ness there  was  in  Desaix's  heart ;  how  much  genius  in 
his  head."  Then  after  a  short  silence,  with  tears  start- 
ing into  his  eyes,  he  added,  ' '  My  brave  Desaix  always 
wished  to  die  thus ;  but  death  should  not  have  been  so 
ready  to  execute  his  wish. ' ' 

Though  the  vast  plain  of  Marengo  was  drenched  with 
French  blood,  joy  pervaded  the  army.  Soldiers  and 
generals  alike  were  merited  for  their  gallant  conduct  and 
were  fully  aware  of  the  importance  of  the  victory  to 
France.  Thus  ended  the  battle  of  Marengo,  one  of  the 
most  decisive  which  had  been  fought  in  Europe,  and  one 
which  opened  to  Napoleon  the  gates  of  all  the  principal 
cities  of  northern  Italy.  By  one  battle  he  regained  nearly 
all  that  the  French  had  lost  in  the  unhappy  Italian  cam- 
paign of  1799  while  he  was  in  Egypt.  He  had 
also  shown  that  the  French  troops  were  once  more  what 
they  had  been  when  he  was  in  the  field  to  command  them. 

In  talking  with  Gohier  one  day,  Napoleon  said  :  "  It  is 
always  the  greater  number  which  defeats  the  lesser. ' ' 

12 


172  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 


' '  And  yet, ' '  said  Gohier,  ' '  with  small  armies  you  have 
frequently  defeated  large  ones. "  "Even  then,"  replied 
Napoleon,  "it  is  always  the  inferior  force  which  was 
defeated  by  the  superior.  When  with  a  small  body  of 
men  I  was  in  the  presence  of  a  large  one,  collecting  my. 
little  band,  I  fell  like  lightning  on  one  of  the  wings  of  the 
hostile  army,  and  defeated  it.  Profiting  by  the  disorder  , 
which  such  an  event  never  failed  to  occasion  in  their 
whole  line,  I  repeated  the  attack,  with  similar  success,  in 
another  quarter,  still  with  my  whole  force.  I  thus  beat 
it  in  detail.  The  general  victory  which  was  the  result 
was  still  an  example  of  the  truth  of  the  principle,  that 
the  greater  force  defeats  the  lesser. ' '  One  of  his  favorite 
maxims  is  said  to  have  been,  "God  always  favors  the 
heaviest  battalions." 

The  Austrians  were  completely  enveloped,  and  had  no 
alternative  but  to  submit  to  the  law  of  the  conqueror. 
Melas  sent  a  flag  of  truce  to  Napoleon  at  daybreak  on  the 
following  morning,  and  peace  negotiations  were  at  once 
began.  In  the  meeting  which  followed  Bonaparte 
required  that  all  the  fortresses  of  I^iguria,  Piedmont,  IvOm- 
bardy  and  the  lyCgations  should  be  immediately  given  up 
to  France,  and  that  the  Austrians  should  evacuate  all 
Italy  as  far  as  the  Mincio. 

The  surrender  of  Genoa  was  strongly  objected  to  by 
Melas,  but  the  conqueror  would  not  waive  this 
point.  The  baron  sent  his  principal  negotiator  to  make 
some  remonstrances  against  the  proposed  armistice: 
"Sir,"  said  the  First  Consul  with  some  warmth,  "my 
conditions  are  irrevocable.  It  was  not  yesterday  that  I 
began  my  military  life  ;  your  position  is  as  well  known 
to  me  as  to  yourselves.     You  are  in  Alessandria,  encum- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  173 

bered  with  dead,  wounded,  sick,  destitute  of  provisions  ; 
you  have  lost  the  best  troops  of  your  army,  and  are  sur- 
rounded on  all  sides.  There  is  nothing  that  I  might  not 
require,  but  I  respect  the  gray  hair  of  your  general, 
and  the  valor  of  your  troops,  and  I  require,  nothing 
more  than  is  imperatively  demanded  by  the  present 
situation  of  affairs.  Return  to  Alessandria  ;  do  what 
you  will,   you  shall   have  no   other   conditions." 

The  treaty  of  peace  was  signed  at  Alessandria,  the 
same  day,  June  15th,  1800,  as  originally  proposed  by 
General  Bonaparte.  He  then  started  for  Paris  by  way  of 
Milan,  where  preparations  had  been  made  for  a  solemn 
Te  Deum  in  the  ancient  cathedral,  and  at  which  the  First 
Consul  was  present.  He  found  the  city  illuminated,  and 
ringing  with  the  most  enthusiastic  rejoicings.  The 
streets  were  lined  with  people  who  greeted  him  with 
shouts  of  welcome.  Draperies  were  hung  from  the  win- 
dows, which  were  crowded  by  women  of  the  first  rank 
and  who  threw  flowers  into  his  carriage  as  he  passed. 
He  set  off  for  Paris  on  the  24th  of  June  and  arrived  at 
the  French  capital  in  the  night  between  the  2nd  and  3rd 
of  July,  having  been  absent  less  than  two  months.  Mas- 
sena  remained  as  Commander-in-chief  of  the  Army  of 
Italy. 

To  one  of  his  traveling  companions  with  whom  he  con- 
versed on  the  journey  to  Paris  about  his  remarkable  vic- 
tory at  Marengo,  he  said:  "Well,  a  few  grand  deeds 
like  this  campaign  and  I  may  be  known  to  posterity. ' ' 
"  It  seems  to  me,"  said  his  companion,  "  that  you  have 
already  done  enough  to  be  talked  about  everywhere  for  a 
time."  "  Done  enough,"  said  Bonaparte  quickly,  "You 
are  very  kind  !     To  be  sure  in  less  than  two  years  I  have 


174  MILITARY  CAREER  OF  / 

conquered  Cairo,  Paris  and  Milan  ;  well,  my  dear  fellow, 
if  I  were  to  die  to-morrow,  after  ten  centuries  I  shouldn't 
fill  half  a  page  in  a  universal  history  ! ' ' 

At  night  the  city  of  Paris  was  brilliantly  illuminated 
and  the  inhabitants  turned  out  en  masse.  Night  after 
night  every  house  was  illuminated.  The  people  were  so 
anxious  to  show  their  pleasure  at  Napoleon's  miraculous 
victory  that  they  stood  in  crowds  around  the  palace  con- 
tented if  they  could  but  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  preserver 
of  France.  These  receptions  so  deeply  touched  him  that 
twenty  years  afterwards,  in  loneliness  and  in  exile,  a  prisoner 
at  St.  Helena,  he  mentioned  it  as  one  of  the  proudest  and 
happiest  moments  of  his  life. 

On  the  day  following  his  return  to  the  capital  the  presi- 
dent of  the  Senate — the  entire  body  having  waited  upon 
him  in  state — complimented  the  conqueror  of  Marengo  in 
language  such  as  kings  were  formerly  addressed  in, 
and  in  closing  his  address  said  :  ' '  We  take  pleasure 
in  acknowledging  that  to  you  the  country  owes  its  salva- 
tion ;  that  to  you  the  Republic  will  owe  its  consolidation, 
and  the  people  a  prosperity,  which  you  have  in  one 
day  made  to  succeed  ten  years  of  the  most  stormy  of 
revolutions. ' ' 

In  November  following  Napoleon's  return  to  the  capital 
he  received  a  letter  addressed  to  him  by  Count  de  Lille 
(afterwards  L,ouis  XVIII.)  which  the  exiled  prince  of  the 
House  of  Bourbon  evidently  believed  would  place  him  on 
the  throne  of  France.  He  said  :  ' '  You  are  very  tardy 
about  restoring  my  throne  to  me  ;  it  is  to  be  feared  that 
you  may  let  the  favorable  moment  slip.  You  cannot 
establish  the  happiness  of  France  without  me  ;  and  I,  on 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  175 

the  other  hand,  can  do  nothing  for  France  without  you. 
Make  haste,  then,  and  point  out,  yourself,  the  posts  and 
dignities  which  will  satisfy  you  and  your  friends. ' ' 

The  First  Consul  answered  thus :  "I  have  received 
your  Royal  Highness'  letter.  I  have  always  taken  a  lively 
interest  in  your  misfortunes  and  those  of  your  family. 
You  must  not  think  of  appearing  in  France — -you  could  not 
do  so  without  marching  over  five  hundred  thousand  corpses. 
For  the  rest,  I  shall  always  be  zealous  to  do  whatever  lies 
in  my  power  towards  softening  your  Royal  Highness' 
destinies,  and  making  you  forget,  if  possible,  your  mis- 
forunes.     Bonaparte." 

The  battle  of  Marengo  was  celebrated  at  Paris  by  a  fete 
on  the  14th  of  July,  which  presented  a  singularly  interest- 
ing spectacle  owing  to  the  appearance  of  the  ' '  wall  of 
granite,"  the  members  of  which,  just  as  the  games  were 
about  to  begin,  marched  into  the  field.  The  sight  of  those 
soldiers,  covered  with  the  dust  of  their  march,  sun-burned 
and  powder-stained,  and  bearing  marks  of  heroic  deeds 
on  the  battle-field,  formed  a  scene  so  truly  affecting  that 
the  populace  could  not  be  restrained  by  the  guards  from 
violating  the  limits,  in  order  to  take  a  nearer  view  of  those 
interesting  heroes. 


V 

UIvM  AND  AUSTKRI.ITZ 

Napoleon  had  now  reached  such  a  point  of  power  that 
the  Bourbons  resigned  all  hopes  of  restoration  through  his 
agency,  and  as  the  next  best  means  of  obtaining  control 
of  tlie  throne  of  France  assassination  was  decided  upon. 


176  MILITARY  CAREER  OF. 

The  First  Consul  had  scarcely  been  in  Paris  a  month,  after 
the  engagement  at  Marengo  when  Ceracchi,  a  sculptor  of 
some  fame,  attempted  Bonaparte's  life  as  he  was 
entering  the  theatre.  But  for  his  betrayal  by  a  co-conspir- 
ator the  plot  would  have  succeeded.  This  attempt  by 
means  of  the  dagger  was  followed  by  the  explosion  of  an 
infernal  machine,  which  consisted  of  a  barrel  of  gun- 
powder surrounded  by  an  immense  quantity  of  grape  shot. 
On  the  night  of  October  loth  the  machine  was  placed  at 
Nacaise,  a  narrow  street  through  which  Napoleon  was  to 
pass  on  his  way  to  the  opera  house. 

Some  years  later,  in  telling  of  the  narrow  escape  he  had 
on  that  night,  he  said  :  "I  had  been  hard  at  work  all 
day,  and  was  so  overpowered  by  sleep  after  dinner  that 
Josephine,  who  was  quite  anxious  to  go  to  the  opera  that 
night,  found  it  quite  difficult  to  arouse  me  and  per- 
suade me  to  go.  I  fell  asleep  again  after  we  had  entered 
the  carriage,  and  I  was  dreaming  of  the  danger  I  had 
undergone  some  years  before  in  crossing  the  Tagliamento 
at  midnight  by  the  light  of  torches,  during  a  flood,  when 
I  was  waked  by  the  explosion  of  the  infernal  machine. 
'  We  are  blown  up,'  I  said  to  Bessieres  and  Lannes,  who 
were  in  the  carriage,  and  then  quickly  commanded  the 
coachman  to  drive  on. " 

The  coachman,  who  was  intoxicated,  heard  the  order, 
and  having  mistaken  the  explosion  for  a  salute,  lashed 
his  horses  furiously  until  the  theatre  was  reached.  The 
machine  had  been  fired  by  a  slow  match,  and  the  explo- 
sion took  place  just  twenty  seconds  too  soon.  Summary 
justice  was  executed  upon  the  perpetrators  of  this  infa- 
mous deed,  and  some  time  later  the  Duke  d'  Bnghien 
atoned  for  the  part,  whatever  it  might  have  been,  that  the 
Bourbons  had  taken  in  these  murderous  schemes. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  177 

Austria  delai^ed  for  several  months  final  negotiations  of 
the  treaty  agreed  upon  after  the  engagement  at  Marengo, 
evidently  reassured  by  the  attempts  made  on  the  First 
Consul's  life.  Preliminaries  of  peace  had  been  signed  at 
Paris,  between  the  Austrian  general,  Saint  Julian, and  the 
French  government.  Duroc  was  dispatched  to  the  Bmperor 
of  Austria,  to  obtain  his  ratification  of  the  articles;  but 
having  reached  the  headquarters  of  the  Army  of  the  Rhine, 
he  was  refused  a  pass  to  proceed  on  his  journey. 

Napoleon  immediately  ordered  Moreau  to  recommence 
hostilities,  unless  the  Emperor  delivered  up  the  fortresses 
ofUlm,  Ingolstadt  and  Phillipsburg  as  pledges  of  his 
sincerity.  Austria,  accordingly,  purchased  a  further  pro- 
traction of  the  armistice  at  this  heavy  price  ;  at  the  same 
time  offering  to  treat  for  peace  on  new  grounds.  News  of 
the  occupation  of  the  three  fortresses  by  the  French  troops, 
was  announced  in  Paris  on  the  23d  of  September  1800, 
where  the  fresh  hopes  of  peace  caused  universal  satisfaction. 

These  hopes,however, proved  delusive.  Austria  delayed 
and  equivocated,  until  it  became  evident  the  Bmperor 
would  make  no  peace  separate  from  England,  and  that 
the  latter  power  was  prepared  to  support  her  ally. 

Napoleon,  perceiving  thut  he  was  being  trifled  with, 
now  gave  orders  (in  November,  1800)  to  all  his  generals 
to  put  their  divisions  in  march  all  along  the  frontiers  of 
the  French  dominions.  The  shock  was  instantaneous, 
from  the  Rhine  to  the  Mincio.  Brune  overwhelmed  the 
Austrians  on  the  Mincio  ;  Macdonald  held  the  Tyrol,  and 
Moreau  achieved  the  glorious  victory  of  Hohenlinden 
after  a  desperate  and  most  sanguinary  battle.  This  latter 
contest  decided  the  fate  of  the  campaign.  Thus  with 
three    victorious   armies,    either   of  which   could   have 


178  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

marched  triumphantly  into  Vienna,  Napoleon  hesitated 
long  enough  before  taking  that  final  step,  to  allow  Aus- 
tria to  sign  an  honest  and  definite  peace.  The  treaty  of 
lyuneville  was  at  last  signed  in  good  faith  on  February  9th, 
1 80 1.  By  the  peace  of  lyUneville,  Napoleon  for  the  second 
time  effected  the  pacification  of  the  Continent.  Of  all  the 
powerful  coalition  which  threatened  France  in  1800, 
England  alone  continued  hostile  in  1801  if  we  except 
Turkey,  with  which  no  arrangement  could  be  made  until 
the  affairs  of  Egypt  were  settled. 

On  the  8th  of  March,  1801,  a  British  army  of  17,000  men 
landed  in  Egypt  under  the  command  of  Sir  Ralph  Aber- 
cromby.  The  French  were  very  ill-prepared  for  an 
attack.  The  English  army  overcame  the  resistance  of  the 
forces  which  opposed  their  landing  through  the  heavy  surf 
formed  on  the  beach,  and  advanced  upon  their  enemy.  No 
general  action  occurred  until  the  21st  when  the  English 
obtained  a  decisive  victory  and  drove  Menou, — who  had 
succeeded  to  the  command  of  the  t^ops  in  Egypt  at  the 
death  of  Kleber, — with  great  loss  within  the  walls  of 
Alexandria.  Here  he  was  blockaded  and  General  Belliard , 
cut  off  from  all  communication  with  him,  capitulated  after 
which  Menou  submitted.  Each  capitulated  on  condition 
of  being  taken  back  to  France  with  all  his  troops  and  their 
arms  and  baggage.  Thus  ended  the  conquest  of  Egypt  by 
Napoleon.  The  French  admiral,  Gantheaume,  had  long 
been  making  fruitless  efforts  to  land  reinforcements  in 
Egypt,  but  had  been  unable  to  elude  the  British  ships. 
He  was  now  ordered  to  return  to  Toulon,  where  prepara- 
tions were  made  to  receive  the  French  troops. 

After  the  news  of  the  reverses  of  the  Frence  army  in 
Egypt,and  the  great  sea  victory  of  Copenhagen  by  Nelson, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  179 

Napoleon  was  determined  to  bring  England  to  negotiations 
of  peace  and  a  recognition  of  the  French  Republic,  and  with 
this  in  view  he  gathered  an  army  of  100,000  men  on  the 
coasts  of  France  ,  with  a  flotilla  sufficiently  large  to  effect  a 
landing  in  England,  whenever  circumstances  seemed  to 
favor  such  a  movement.  At  this  very  moment  it  was,  that 
Fulton,  the  inventor  of  steam-boats,  communicated  his 
discovery  to  the  First  Consul.  Napoleon  thus  had  the 
first  chance  placed  in  his  hands  of  possessing  exclusively 
for  a  time,  the  greatest  and  most  diversified  means  of  phys- 
ical power  ever  known  in  the  world.  Scarcely  deigning 
to  bestow  a  thought  upon  the  subject  the  First  Consul 
treated  the  inventor  as  a  "  visionary.  " 

Whether  or  not  Napoleon  ever  intended  to  invade  Great 
Britain,  he  succeeded  at  all  events  in  convincing  the  world 
for  a  time  that  such  was  his  design,  and  when  the  peace  of 
Amiens  was  signed  on  March  25th,  1802,  Paris  and  lyondon 
rejoiced,  as  did  all  civilized  nations.  The  peace  of  Amiens 
left  the  military  resources  of  France  unemployed  on  the 
hands  of  Bonaparte.  This  induced  him  to  think  of  profiting 
by  the  European  calm,  and  effect  the  conquest  of  St. 
Domingo.  He  gave  the  command  of  the  expedition  to  his 
brother-in-law,  lycclerc  ;  but  it  was  unsuccessful. 

■  The  inauguration  of  Christian  worship  once  more  in 
France  in  1802  gave  Napoleon  an  opportunity  to  show 
that  he  had  the  interest  of  the  people  at  heart.  France 
was  an  infidel  nation,  and  it  was  the  fashion  to  believe 
there  was  no  God.  The  signing  of  the  Concordat  by 
Pope  Pius  VII.  gave  to  France  what  she  had  long  needed — 
a  form  of  religious  worship.  It  required  no  little  strength 
of  purpose  to  take  this  step.  ' '  Religion  is  a  principle 
which  cannot  be  eradicated  from  the  heart  of  man  ; ' '  said 


i8o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Napoleon.  "  L^ast  Sunday  I  was  walking  here  alone,  and 
the  church  bells  of  the  village  of  Ruel  rang  at  sunset.  I 
was  strongly  moved,  so  vividly  did  the  memory  of  early 
days  come  back  with  that  sound.  If  it  be  thus  with  me, 
what  must  it  be  with  others?  In  re-establishing  the 
Church,  I  consult  the  wishes  of  the  great  majority  of  my 
people. ' '  A  grand  religious  ceremony  took  place  at  Notre 
Dame  Cathedral  to  celebrate  the  proclamation  of  the  Con- 
cordat, at  which  the  First  Consul  presided  with  great 
pomp,  attended  by  all  the  ministers  and  general  officers 
then  in  Paris.  Another  measure,  adopted  at  this  period, 
was  the  decree  permitting  the  return  of  the  emigrants, 
provided  the}-  appeared  and  took  the  oath  to  the  govern- 
ment within  a  certain  period.  It  is  estimated  that  a 
hundred  thousand  exiles  returned  to  their  country  in 
consequence  of  this  decree. 

It  was  about  this  period,  too,  that  the  First  Consul 
turned  his  attention  to  the  system  of  a  national  education, 
He  also  commenced  the  herculean  task  of  preparing  a 
code  of  law  for  the  French  nation  with  the  result  that  the 
' '  Code  Napoleon  ' '  is  known  to  every  civilized  nation  of 
the  earth.  Public  improvements,  formerly  projected, 
were  now  carried  out,  and  sciences  and  the  arts  progressed 
as  never  before. 

The  order  of  the  lyCgion  of  Honor  owes  its  inception  to 
Napoleon  Bonaparte,  and  it  was  he  who  placed  it  on  such 
a  footing  in  France  that  it  has  since  thrived  there  as  has 
no  similar  institution  on  the  Continent.  When  established 
by  him, after  months  of  careful  consideration,  lie  believed 
it  necessary  to  France.  To  his  Counselors  of  State  he 
said  :  ' '  They  talk  about  ribbons  and  crosses  being  the 
playthings  of  monarchs,  and  say  that  the  old  Romans  had 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  i8i 

no  system  of  honorary  rewards.  The  Romans  had  pa- 
tricians, knights,  citizens  and  slaves, — for  each  class  differ- 
ent dresses  and  different  manners — mural  crowns,  civic 
crowns,  orations,  triumphs  and  titles.  When  the  noble 
band  of  patricians  lost  its  influence,  Rome  fell  to  pieces — 
the  people  were  a  vile  rabble.  It  was  then  that  you  saw 
the  fury  of  Marius,  the  proscriptions  of  Scylla,  and  after- 
ward of  the  Emperors.  In  that  manner  Brutus  is  talked 
of  as  the  enemy  of  tyrants  ;  he  was  an  aristocrat,  who 
stabbed  Caesar  because  Caesar  wished  to  lower  the  author- 
ity of  the  senate.  You  call  these  ribbons  and  crosses 
child's  rattles — be  it  so  :  It  is  with  such  rattles  that  men 
are  led.  I  would  not  say  that  to  the  multitude,  but  in  a 
council  of  wise  men  and  statesmen  one  may  speak  the 
truth  .  .  .  Observe  how  the  people  bow  before  the 
decorations  of  foreigners.  Voltaire  calls  the  common  sol- 
diers '  Alexanders  at  five  sous  a  day. '  He  was  right.  It 
is  just  so.  Do  you  imagine  you  can  make  men  fight  by 
reasoning  ?  Never  !  You  must  bribe  them  with  glory, 
with  distinctions  and  rewards  ...  In  fine,  it  is  agreed 
that  we  have  need  of  some  kind  of  institutions.  If  this 
L,egion  of  Honor  is  not  approved,  let  some  other  be  sug- 
gested. I  do  not  pretend  that  it  alone  will  save  the  State, 
but  it  will  do  its  part. ' ' 

The  Legion  of  Honor  was  instituted  on  the  15th  of  May 
1802.  When  Napoleon  had  seen  the  fruits  of  it,  he  said  : 
' '  This  order  was  the  reward  of  every  one  who  was  an 
honor  to  his  country,  stood  at  the  head  of  his  profession, 
and  contributed  to  the  national  prosperity  and  glory. 
Some  were  dissatisfied,  because  the  decoration  was  con- 
ferred alike  on  officers  and  soldiers  ;  others,  because  it  was 
given  for  civ  11  and  military  merits  indiscriminately  ;  but  if 


i82  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

this  order  ever  cease  to  be  the  recompense  of  the  brave 
private,  or  be  confined  to  military  men  alone,  it  will  cease 
to  be  what  I  made  it, — the  I^egion  of  Honor." 

The  First  Consul  was,  in  right  of  his  office,  captain  gen- 
eral of  the  legion  and  president  of  the  council  of  administra- 
tion. The  nomination  of  all  the  members  was  for  life.  The 
grand  officers  were  endowed  with  a  yearly  pension  of 
upwards  of  $1000.  Pensions,  decreasing  in  amount,  were 
also  affixed  to  the  subordinate  degrees  of  rank  in  the  order. 
All  the  members  were  required  to  swear, upon  their  honor, 
to  defend  the  government  of  France,  and  maintain  the 
inviolability  of  her  Empire,  to  combat,  by  every  lawful 
means  against  the  re-establishment  of  feudal  institutions, 
and  to  concur  in  maintaining  the  principle  of  liberty  and 
equality.  On  the  day  the  order  was  instituted,  Napoleon, 
by  act  of  the  Senate  was  appointed  Consul  for  life.  The 
First  Consul  accepted  the  offered  prolongation  from  the 
Senate,  on  the  condition  that  the  opinion  of  the  people 
should  be  consulted  on  the  subject.  The  question  put  to 
them,  as  framed  by  Cambaceres  and  Le  Brun,  was  : 
"Napoleon  Bonaparte— Shall  he  be  Consul  for  life  ?' '  Regis- 
ters were  opened  in  all  municipalities  ;  and  the  answer  of 
the  .people  qualified  to  vote  was  decisive.  Upwards  of 
three  million  five  hundred  thousand  voted  for  the  proposal ; 
8,300  against  it.  In  the  month  of  August  Napoleon  was 
formally  declared  Consul  for  life  and  a  decree  of  the 
Senate  immediately  consolidated  his  power,  by  permitting 
him  to  appoint  his  successor. 

This  personal  elevation  had  its  ample  share  in  contrib- 
uting to  the  number  of  Napoleon's  enemies.  In  fact  it 
appears  in  some  measure  astonishing  how  any  individual 
could  persuade  a  whole  nation,  day  after  day,  to  yield  him 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  183 

up  such  a  portion  of  its  rights  and  privileges.  However, 
among  many  instances  that  might  be  adduced  of  his  pow- 
ers of  persuasion,  one  which  occurred  about  this  period  is 
not  the  least  remarkable.  In  the  beginning  of  the  sum- 
mer of  1802  some  officers  of  rank,  enthusiastic  republic- 
ans, took  umbrage  at  Napoleon's  conduct,  and  determined 
to  go  and  remonstrate  with  him  upon  the  points  that  had 
given  them  offense,  and  speak  their  minds  freely.  On  the 
evening  of  the  same  day,  one  of  the  party  gave  the  following 
account  of  the  interview  :  "  I  do  not  know  whence  it  arises, 
but  there  is  a  charm  about  that  man,  indescribable  and  irre- 
sistible. I  am  no  admirer  of  his ;  I  dislike  the  power  to  which 
he  has  risen  ;  yet  I  cannot  help  confessing  that  there  is 
something  in  him  which  seems  to  speak  him  born  to  com- 
mand. We  went  into  his  apartment,  determined  to  declare 
our  minds  ;  to  expostulate  with  him  warmly  ;  and  not  to 
depart  till  our  subject  of  complaint  should  be  removed. 
But  in  his  manner  of  receiving  us  there  was  a  certain  tact 
which  disarmed  us  in  a  moment ;  nor  could  we  utter  one 
word  of  what  we  had  intended  to  say.  He  talked  to  us 
for  a  length  of  time,  with  an  eloquence  peculiarly  his  own, 
explaining  with  the  utmost  clearness  and  precision,  the 
necessity  of  steadily  pursuing  the  line  of  conduct  he  had 
adopted,  and,  without  contradicting  us  in  direct  terms, 
controverted  our  opinions  so  ably,  that  we  had  not  a  word 
to  offer  in  replj^,  we  therefore  retired,  having  done  nothing 
but  listen  to,  instead  of  expostulating  with  him  ,  fully 
convinced,  at  least  for  the  moment,  that  he  was  right,  and 
that  we  were  altogether  in  the  wrong  ! ' ' 

Towards  the  close  of  the  year  1802  it  became  evident 
that  the  peace  of  Amiens  was  based  on  a  hollow  foundation, 
and  was  destined  at  no  distant  period  to  be  overthrown.    At 


i84  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

an  interview  held  with  Lord  Whitworth,  an  ambassador 
from  England,  Napoleon  said :  ' '  No  consideration  on 
earth  shall  make  me  consent  to  your  retention  of  Malta  ;  I 
would  as  soon  agree  to  put  you  in  possession  of  the  Fau- 
bourg St,  Antoine.  Every  wind  that  blows  from  England 
brings  nothing  but  hatred  and  hostility  towards  me.  An 
invasion  is  the  only  means  of  offense  that  I  can  take 
against  her,  and  I  am  determined  to  put  myself  at  the 
head  of  the  expedition.  There  are  a  hundred  chances  to 
one  against  my  success  ;  but  I  am  not  the  less  determined 
to  attempt  the  descent,  if  war  must  be  the  consequence 
of  the  present  discussion."  He  now  quickly  brought 
matters  to  a  crisis.  He  attacked  the  ambassador  in  vigor- 
ous language  at  a  diplomatic  meeting  at  the  Tuileries 
which  ended  in  an  abrupt  termination  of  the  conference 
by  Napoleon  leaving  the  room. 

The  armistice  lasted  until  March  i8th,  1803,  when 
England  again  declared  war  upon  France.  All  commerce 
of  the  French  nation  was  ordered  seized,  wherever  found, 
and  two  hundred  vessels,  containing  at  least  $15,000,000 
worth  of  property  fell  into  the  hands  of  England.  Napo- 
leon retaliated  by  arresting  upwards  of  ten  thousand  Eng- 
lishmen then  in  France.  The  tocsin  of  war  was  sounded 
in  every  part  of  Europe,  and  160,000  French  soldiers 
were  marshaled  on  the  coasts  of  France,  again  threaten- 
ing an  invasion  of  England.  France  at  this  time  was 
totally  unprepared  for  war  ;  a  proof  sufficient  to  show 
that  the  First  Consul  had  not  desired  the  termination  of 
peace.  The  army  was  completely  on  a  peace  estab- 
lishment ;  great  numbers  of  the  troops  were  disbanded 
and  the  parks  of  artillery  were  broken  up.  New  plans 
for  re-casting  the  artillery  had  been  proposed,  and  they  had 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  185 

already  begun  to  break  up  the  cannon  to  throw  them  into 
the  furnaces.  The  navy  was  in  a  still  less  serviceable 
condition.  In  an  address  to  the  Senate  Napoleon  said  : 
* '  The  negotiations  are  ended  and  we  are  attacked  ;  let  us 
at  least  fight  to  maintain  the  faith  of  treaties  and  the 
honor  of  the  French  name."  The  nation  responded  with 
enthusiasm  to  the  call ;  sums  of  money  were  voted  by 
the  large  towns  for  building  ships  and  the  army  was  rap- 
idly recruited. 

The  first  hostile  movement  of  Napoleon  was  upon  the 
continental  domains  of  George  III.  General  Mortier 
invaded  the  Electorate  of  Hanover  with  15,000  men  and 
the  Hanoverian  army  laid  down  its  arms.  The  second 
movement  of  the  First  Consul  was  the  occupation  of 
Naples.  No  resistance  was  attempted.  These  measures, 
besides  enabling  Napoleon  to  maintain  his  army  by  levies 
on  the  foreign  states  he  occupied,  also  crippled  the  com- 
merce of  England  by  shutting  up  all  communication 
with  many  of  the  best  markets  on  the  Continent.  The  First 
Consul  now  visited  the  principal  towns,  accompanied  by 
Josephine,  where  he  made  observations  and  gave  orders 
respecting  the  fortifications.  These  measures  were  all 
preparatory  on  the  part  of  Napoleon  to  his  determined 
plan  to  attempt  the  invasion  of  England.  Funds  were 
secured  in  part  by  the  sale  of  Eouisiana  to  the  United 
States. 

Assassination  was  now  again  resorted  to  that  Napoleon 
might  be  overthrown  ;  but  every  attempt,  as  heretofore, 
proved  futile.  Conspiracy  after  conspiracy  was  detected — 
all  traced  to  Napoleon's  political  enemies.  The  First 
Consul  resolved  on  retaliation  and  ordered  the  arrest  of 
the  Duke  d'Enghien  at  his  castle  in  the  Duchy  of  Baden. 


i86  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Three  daj^s  afterwards  the  duke  was  conveyed  to  Paris, 
and  after  a  few  hours'  imprisonment,  was  taken  to  the  old 
State  Prison  of  France,  where  he  was  tried  by  court 
martial,  and  in  a  most  summary  and  hasty  manner  pro- 
nounced guilty  of  having  fought  against  the  Republic  and 
condemned  to  death.  He  was  led  down  a  winding  stairway 
by  torchlight, and  shot  in  a  ditch  in  the  castle  at  six  o'clock 
in  the  morning.  All  Europe  shuddered  at  the  deed,  but 
it  produced  exactly  the  result  Napoleon  intended  by  it  ; 
he  was  safe  from  attempts  on  his  life  forever  afterwards. 

Before  the  discovery  of  this  plot  the  French  Senate  had 
sent  an  address  to  Napoleon  congratulating  him  on  his 
escape  from  a  former  conspiracy  in  which  one  hundred 
persons  had  schemed  to  take  his  life.  In  answer  he  said  : 
"I  have  long  since  renounced  the  hope  of  enjoying  the 
pleasures  of  a  private  life;  all  my  days  are  employed  in  ful- 
filling the  duties  which  my  fate  and  the  will  of  the  French 
people  have  imposed  upon  me.  Heaven  will  watch  over 
France,  and  defeat  the  plots  of  the  wicked.  The  citizens 
may  be  without  alarm  ;  my  life  will  last  as  long  as  it  will 
be  useful  to  the  nation  ;  but  I  wish  the  French  people  to 
understand  that  existence,  without  their  confidence  and 
affection,  would  be  to  me  without  consolation,  and  would 
for  them  have  no  object." 

The  title  of  First  Consul,  by  which  Napoleon  had  been 
distinguished  for  more  than  four  years,  was  exchanged 
on  the  1 8th  of  May  1804  for  that  of  Emperor  by  the 
advice  of  the  Senate,  where  it  was  first  publicly  broached, 
and  by  the  universal  assent  of  the  French  nation.  Up- 
wards of  3,500,000  voted  for  the  mear>ure  and  about 
2,000  against  it.  The  debates  in  the  Senate  were 
somewhat  protracted    and   so  great  was  the   impatience 


FroD:  i  I'aimiii.-  l.y  J,  I.  hn:  A 

Allegurial  Rhpkesi;ntation  ui^  Napoleon  Crossing  the  Alps 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  187 

of  the  military  that  the  garrison  of  Paris  had  resolved  to 
proclaim  their  chief  as  Kmperor,  at  the  first  review  ;  and 
Murat,  governor  of  the  city,  was  obliged  to  assemble  the 
officers  at  his  house,  and  bind  them  by  a  promise  to 
restrain  the  troops.  The  spirit  of  the  army  at  Boulogne 
was  soon  manifested,  by  their  voting  the  erection  of  a  col- 
ossal statue  of  Napoleon,  in  bronze,  to  be  placed  in  the 
midst  of  the  camp.  Every  soldier  subscribed  a  portion  of 
his  pay  for  the  purpose  ;  but  there  was  a  want  of  bronze. 
Soult,  who  presided  over  the  completion  of  the  undertak- 
ing, went,  at  the  head  of  a  deputation  to  Napoleon,  and 
said  :  "Sire,  lend  me  the  bronze,  and  I  will  repay  it  in 
enemy's  cannon  at  the  first  battle, ' '  and  he  kept  his  word. 

On  the  27th  of  May  Napoleon  received  the  oath  of  the 
Senate,  the  constituted  bodies,  the  learned  corporations 
and  the  troops  of  the  garrison  of  Paris.  lyouis  XVIII. 
immediately  addressed  a  protest  to  all  the  sovereigns 
of  Europe  against  the  usurpation  of  Napoleon.  Fouche, 
who  was  the  first  who  heard  of  this  document,  immedi- 
ately communicated  the  intelligence  to  the  Emperor, 
with  a  view  to  prepare  the  necessary  orders  to  watch 
over  those  who  might  attempt  its  circulation  ;  but  great 
was  his  surprise,  on  receiving  directions  to  have  the 
whole  inserted  in  ' '  The  Moniteur  ' '  the  following  morn- 
ing, where  it  actually  appeared.  This  was  all  the  notice 
taken  of  the  matter  by  Napoleon. 

On  December  ist  of  the  same  year,  the  lists  of  votes 
in  favor  of  the  establishment  of  the  hereditary  succession 
of  the  Empire  in  his  family  were  publicly  presented  by 
the  Senate  to  Napoleon,  and  on  the  following  day,  in  the 
midst  of  one  of  the  most  imposing  and  brilliant  scenes 
ever  enacted   in  France,   Napoleon  and  Josephine  were 

13 


1^8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

crowned  Emperor  and  Empress  of  France  by  Pius  VII. , 
the  Pontiff  of  Rome,  in  the  Cathedral  of  Notre  Dame. 

The  Emperor  took  his  coronation  oath  as  usual  on  such 
occasions,  with  his  hand  upon  the  Scripture,  and  in  the 
form  repeated  to  him  by  the  Pope  ;  but  in  the  act  of  cor- 
onation itself  there  was  a  marked  deviation  from  the  uni- 
versal custom.  The  crown  having  been  blessed  by  the 
Pope,  Napoleon  took  it  from  the  altar  with  his  own  hands 
and  placed  it  on  his  brow.  He  then  put  the  diadem  on 
the  head  of  Josephine.  The  heralds  proclaimed  that ' '  the 
thrice  glorious  and  thrice  august  Napoleon,  Emperor  of 
the  French,  was  crowned  and  installed  ; ' '  and  so  ended 
the  pageant.  ' '  Those  who  remember  having  beheld  it, ' ' 
says  Sir  Walter  Scott,  ' '  must  now  doubt  whether  they 
were  waking,  or  whether  fancy  had  formed  a  vision  so  dazz- 
ling in  its  appearance,  so  extraordinary  in  its  origin  and 
progress,  and  so  ephemeral  in  its  endurance." 

The  senators  of  the  Italian  Republic  soon  afterwards 
requested  that  Napolon  be  crowned  as  their  king,  and 
on  the  following  May  1805,  in  the  ancient  cathedral  of 
Milan,  he  assumed  the  Iron  Crown  of  the  Lombard  kings, 
saying  as  he  did  so,  ' '  God  has  given  it  to  me  ;  let  him 
beware  who  would  touch  it  !  " 

The  new  order  of  knighthood,  that  of  the  Iron  Crown, 
with  these  words  for  its  motto, arose  out  of  this  ceremony. 

On  the  8th  of  May,  while  on  the  road  to  Milan,  Napo- 
leon expressed  a  wish  to  visit  the  battlefield  of  Marengo, 
on  which  he  had  reconquered  Italy  five  years  before.  All 
the  French  troops  in  that  part  of  Italy  were  therefore 
mustered  there,  to  the  number  of  30,000.  Covered  with 
the  hat  and  uniform  which  he  wore  on  the  day  of  that 
memorable  conflict — the  Emperor  passed  the  army  in 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  189 

review  on  horseback,  and  distributed  crosses  of  tlie  Le- 
gion of  Honor,  with  the  same  ceremonies  which  had  been 
observed  on  the  Champ  de  Mars  and  the  same  return  of 
enthusiastic  devotion  on  the  parts  of  the  troops.  ' '  It  was 
remarked, ' '  says  Bourrienne,  ' '  that  the  worms,  who  spare 
neither  the  costumes  of  Hving  kings,  nor  the  bodies  of 
deceased  heroes,  had  been  busy  with  the  trophies  of  Ma- 
rengo, which,  nevertheless,  Bonaparte  wore  at  the  review. " 
Napoleon  did  not  continue  his  journey  until  after  he  had 
laid  the  first  stone  of  the  monument  consecrated  to  those 
who  had  been  slain  on  the  battlefield,  and  on  the  same 
day  he  made  his  entry  into  Milan.  Meanwhile  the  activ- 
ity in  France  continued  unabated,  and  scarcely  a  day 
passed  without  some  trifling  engagement,  brought  on  by 
the  rigorous  pursuit  of  the  squadrons  of  the  French  fleet, 
as  they  advanced  to  Boulogne. 

Scarcely  had  the  Emperor  entered  Paris  after  his  return 
from  the  coronation  in  Italy,  before  he  learned  that  a  new 
coalition  had  been  formed  against  him,  and  thatKngland, 
Russia,  Austria  and  Sweden,  with  half  a  million  men, 
were  preparing  once  more  for  war.  The  objects  proposed 
were,  briefly,  the  independence  of  Holland  and  Switzer- 
land ;  the  evacuation  of  Hanover,  and  the  north  of  Ger- 
many by  the  French  troops  ;  the  restoration  of  Piedmont 
to  the  King  of  Sardinia  ;  and  the  complete  evacuation  of 
Italy  by  France.  Great  Britain,  besides  affording  the 
assistance  of  her  forces  by  sea  and  land,  was  to  pay  large 
subsidies  for  supporting  the  armies  of  the  coalition.  Napo- 
leon had,  in  a  great  degree,  penetrated  the  schemes  of  the 
allied  powers, but  was  not  prepared  for  the  sudden  assump- 
tion of  arms  by  Austria  without  any  declaration  of  war  ; 
a  measure  which  Austria  justified  by  referring  to  the 
increasing  encroachments  of  France  in  Italy. 


I90  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

As  the  Emperor  desired  leisure  to  prosecute  and  perfect 
the  great  public  works  he  had  begun,  or  projected,  he 
most  earnestly  wished  for  peace,  and  he  again  addressed 
a  letter  to  the  King  of  England,  and  which  was  treated 
with  contempt.  An  envoy  was  sent  to  Frankfort-on-the- 
Main  to  ascertain  definitely  whether  Austria  really 
intended  to  trample  another  treaty  in  the  dirt,  and  so  soon 
after  the  fatal  day  at  Marengo.  The  messenger  soon 
returned  with  the  best  maps  of  the  German  Empire,  and 
opening  them  on  the  council  table  of  the  Tuileries,  said  : 
' '  The  Austrian  general  is  advancing  on  Munich :  the 
Russian  army  is  in  motion,  and  Prussia  will  join  them." 

The  Emperor  of  Russia  had  pushed  on  to  Berlin  to  win 
over  the  Prussian  monarch  to  the  great  Bourbon  coali- 
tion, and  to  make  the  compact  more  impressive,  he  asked 
his  royal  brother  to  visit  with  him  the  tomb  of  Frederick 
the  Great.  They  descended  by  torchlight  to  the  vault, 
and  there,  over  the  honored  dust  of  Frederick,  Francis, 
his  heir,  took  a  solemn  oath,  as  he  pointed  to  the  sword 
of  his  ancestor  as  it  lay  on  the  coffin,  to  join  the  European 
coalition.  Some  weeks  afterwards  Napoleon  visited  the 
tomb  as  a  conqueror,  and  said  to  his  attendant,  as  he 
seized  the  precious  relics  :  ' '  These  orders  and  sword  shall 
witness  no  other  such  scene  of  perjury  over  the  ashes  of 
Frederick  !  " 

The  young  Emperor  of  France  now  gathered  his  eagles 
to  lead  them  toward  the  Danube.  To  the  French  Senate, 
whom  Napoleon  informed  of  the  hostile  conduct  of  Russia 
and  Austria, the  Emperor  said  :  "I  am  about  to  quit  my 
capital  to  place  myself  at  the  head  of  my  army  in  order 
that  I  may  render  prompt  assistance  to  my  allies,  and 
defendthedearest  interests  of  my  people     .     .     .     I  groan 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  191 

for  the  blood  wliicli  it  will  cost  Europe ;  but  it  will  be 
the  means  of  adding  new  lustre  to  the  French  name. ' ' 
Another  campaign  against  the  kings  of  Europe  was  inevit- 
able, and  he  proceeded  to  achieve  the  destruction  of  Mack' s 
army,  not  as  at  Marengo  by  one  general  battle,  but  by  a 
series  of  grand  manoeuvres,  and  a  train  of  partial  actions 
necessary  to  execute  them,  which  rendered  assistance  and 
retreat  alike  impossible. 

The  great  army  that  had  been  assembled  on  the  coast 
of  France  to  invade  England  was  now  relieved  from  its 
inactivity  and  directed  to  march  upon  the  German  fron- 
tiers. The  Count  de  Segur,  who  had  command  of  the 
detachment  of  the  Guard  at  the  Tuileries.and  accompanied 
Napoleon  on  this  campaign,  relates  in  his  "  Memoirs  "  a 
remarkable  scene  in  the  Emperor's  private  quarters  at 
Boulogne  before  Napoleon  started  for  the  frontier.  The 
Emperor  had  just  received  news  that  Admiral  Villeneuve 
had  taken  the  French  fleet  to  Ferrol  and  left  the  channel. 
On  learning  this  the  Emperor  at  once  decided  that  the 
contemplated  invasion  of  England  was  then  impossible. 
Segur  then  says :  "Sit  there, ' '  Napoleon  said  to 
M.  Daru,  then  acting  as  intendant-general  of  the  army 
"  and  write."  And  then,  without  a  transition,  without 
any  apparent  meditation,  with  his  brief  and  imperious 
accent,  he  dictated  to  him,  without  hesitation,  the  plan  of 
the  campaign  of  Ulni  as  far  as  Vienna  !  The  army  of  the 
coast,  fronting  the  ocean  for  more  than  two  hundred 
leagues,  was  at  the  first  signal  to  turn  round  and  march 
on  the  Danube,  in  several  columns  !  The  order  of  the 
marches,  their  duration,  points  of  concentration,  of  reunion 
of  the  columns,  surprises,  attacks,  various  movements, 
the   enemy's   mistakes — all  was  foreseen     .     .     .     The 


192  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

battlefields,  the  victories,  even  the  dates  on  which  we  were 
to  enter  Munich  and  Vienna — all  was  then  written  just  as 
it  happened,  and  this  two  months  in  advance,  at  this  very- 
hour  of  the  13th  of  August,  and  from  this  quarter-general 
on  the  coast.  Daru,  however  accustomed  to  the  inspira- 
tions of  his  chief,  remained  dumfounded,  and  he  was  even 
more  surprised  when  afterwards  he  saw  these  oracles 
realized. ' '  The  Emperor  returned  to  Paris  without  delay, 
and  there  laid  before  the  Senate  the  state  of  the  army 
and  announced  the  commencement  of  hostilities. 

It  was  five  years  since  the  soldiers  had  been  in  battle  ; 
and  for  two  and  a  half  years  they  had  been  waiting  in 
vain  for  an  opportunity  to  cross  over  into  England.  It 
would  be  difficult  to  form  any  conception  then  of  their  joy 
or  of  their  ardor  when  they  learned  they  were  going  to  be 
employed  in  a  great  war.  Old  and  young  ardently  longed 
for  battles,  dangers,  distant  expeditions.  They  had  con- 
quered the  Austrians,  the  Prussians,  the  Russians  ;  they 
despised  all  the  soldiers  of  Europe  and  did  not  imagine 
there  was  an  army  in  the* world  capable  of  resisting  them. 
They  set  off  singing,  and  shouting,  "  Vive  1'  Empereur!" 

At  the  same  time  Massena  received  orders  to  assume 
the  offensive  in  Italy,  and  force  his  way,  if  possible,  into 
the  hereditary  States  of  Austria.  The  two  French  armies, 
one  crossing  the  Rhine  and  the  other  pushing  through  the 
Tyrolese,  looked  forward  to  a  junction  before  th'e  walls  of 
Vienna,  After  appointing  Joseph  Bonaparte  to  superin- 
tend the  government  in  his  absence  Napoleon  quitted 
Paris  on  the  24th  of  September  1805,  accompanied  as  far  as 
Strasburg  by  Josephine :  here  they  separated.  The  Emperor 
put  himself  at  the  head  of  his  army  and  crossed  the  Rhine 
on  the  ist  of  October.     He  now  begun  a  series  of  grand 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  193 

manouevres  and  partial  actions,  requiring  consummate 
skill,  with  a  view  to  the  destruction  of  the  great  Austrian 
army  under  General  Mack. 

Mack,  at  the  head  of  the  Austrian  forces,  established 
his  headquarters  on  the  western  frontier  of  Bavaria,  at 
Ulm.  Prudence  would  have  suggested  that  he  occupy 
the  line  of  the  river  Inn ,  which,  extending  from  the  Tyrol 
to  the  Danube  at  Passau,  affords  a  strong  defense  to  the 
Austrian  territory,  and  on  which  he  might  have  awaited, 
in  comparative  safety,  the  arrival  of  the  Russian  forces, 
then  on  the  march  to  aid  Austria  in  the  campaign. 

Napoleon  hastened  to  profit  by  Mack's  error,  and  by 
a  combination  of  manoeuvres  with  his  different  divisions, 
the  great  body  of  the  French  army  advanced  into  the 
heart  of  Germany  by  the  left  of  the  Danube,  and  then  throw- 
ing himself  across  the  river,  took  ground  in  the 
Austrian  general's  rear,  when  he  expected  to  be  assaulted 
in  front'  of  Ulm.  As  it  was,  Mack's  communication 
with  Vienna  was  interrupted,  and  he  was  completely 
isolated.  • 

Never  was  astonishment  equal  to  that  which  filled  all 
Europe  on  the  unexpected  arrival  of  the  French  army. 
It  was  supposed  to  be  on  the  shores  of  the  ocean,  and 
in  twenty  days,  scarcely  time  enough  for  the  report  of 
its  march  to  spread  to  this  point,  it  appeared  on  the 
Rhine. 

Napoleon  did  not  effect  his  purpose  of  taking  up  a 
position  in  the  rear  of  Mack  without  resistance,  but  in  the 
various  engagements  with  the  different  divisions  of  the 
Austrian  army  at  Wertingen,  Gunzburgh,  Memingen  and 
Elchingen,  the  French  were  uniformly  successful.  At 
Memingen  General  Spangenburg  was  forced  to  capitulate, 


T94  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

and  5,000  men  laid  down  their  arms.  Not  less  than 
20,000  prisoners  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  French  between 
the  26th  of  September  and  the  13th  of  October. 

The  Emperor  passed  in  review  the  dragoons  of  the  village 
of  Zumershausen  when  he  ordered  to  be  brought  before  him 
a  dragoon  named  Marente,  of  the  4th  regiment,  one  of  the 
gallant  soldiers  who,  at  the  passage  of  the  lycch,  had 
saved  his  captain,  by  whom  he  had,  a  few  days  before, 
been  cashiered  from  his  rank.  Napoleon  then  bestowed 
upon  him  the  eagle  of  the  Legion  of  Honor. 

* '  I  have  only  done  my  duty, ' '  observed  the  soldier, 
' '  my  captain  degraded  me  on  account  of  some  violation 
of  discipline  but  he  knows  I  have  always  proved  a  good 
soldier. ' ' 

The  Emperor  expressed  his  satisfaction  to  the  dragoons 
for  the  bravery  they  had  displayed  at  the  battle  of  Wer- 
tingen  and  ordered  each  regiment  to  present  a  dragoon, 
on  whom  he  also  bestowed  the  decoration  of  the  I^egion  of 
Honor. 

Napoleon  looked  upon  the  battle  of  Elchingen  which  fol- 
lowed the  actions  at  Wertingen  and  Gunzburgh  as  one  of 
the  finest  feats  of  arms  that  his  army  had  ever  accomplished. 
From  this  field  of  battle  he  sent  the  Senate  forty  standards 
taken  by  the  French  army  in  the  various  battles  which 
had  succeeded  that  of  Wertingen.  "  Since  my  entry  on 
this  campaign,"  he  wrote,  "  I  have  disposed  of  an  army 
of  100,000  men.  I  have  taken  nearly  half  of  them 
prisoners  ;  the  rest  have  either  deserted,  are  killed, 
wounded,  or  reduced  to  thie  greatest  consternation  . 
Assisted  by  Divine  Providence  I  hope  in  a  short  time  to 
triumph  over  all  my  enemies. ' ' 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  195 

By  the  13th  of  October  General  Mack  found  himself 
completely  surrounded  at  Ulm  with  a  garrison  of  fully 
20,000  good  troops.  On  this  day  Napoleon  made  an  excit- 
ing address  to  his  soldiers  on  the  bridge  of  the  I^ech,  amid 
the  most  intense  cold,  the  ground  being  covered  with 
snow,  and  the  troops  sunk  to  the  knees  in  mud.  He 
warned  them  to  expect  a  great  battle,  and  explained 
the  desperate  condition  of  the  enemy.  He  was  an- 
swered with  acclamations  and  repeated  shouts  of,  '  'Vive 
r  Empereur  !  "  In  listening  to  his  exciting  words,  the 
soldiers  forgot  their  fatigues  and  privations  and  were 
impatient  to  rush  into  the  fight. 

As  Napoleon  passed  through  a  crowd  of  prisoners, 
an  Austrian  colonel  expressed  his  astonishment  on 
beholding  the  Emperor  of  the  French  drenched  with  rain, 
covered  with  dirt,  and  as  much,  or  even  more  fatigued 
than  the  meanest  drummer  in  his  army.  An  aide-de- 
camp present  having  explained  to  him  what  the  Austrian 
officer  said,  the  Emperor  ordered  this  answer  to  be  given  : 
' '  Your  master  wished  me  to  recollect  that  I  was  a  soldier  ; 
I  hope  that  he  will  allow  that  the  throne  and  the  imperial 
purple  have  not  made  me  forget  my  original  profession." 

From  the  height  of  the  Abbey  of  Elchingen  Napoleon 
now  beheld  the  city  of  Ulm  at  his  feet,  commanded  on 
every  side  by  his  cannon  ;  his  victorious  troops  ready  for 
the  assault,  and  the  great  Austrian  army  cooped  up  within 
the  walls.  Four  days  later  a  flag  of  truce  came  from 
General  Mack. 

Napoleon  had  called  upon  the  commander  to  sur- 
render, and  unlike  the  brave  Wurmser,  who  held  Mantua 
to  extremity  during  the  campaign  of  Alvinzi,  he  capitulated 
without  hazarding  a  blow.     On  the  previous  day  Mack  had 


196  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

published  a  proclamation  urging  his  troops  to  prepare  for 
the  ' '  utmost  pertinacity  of  defense  ' '  and  forbidding,  on 
the  pain  of  death,  the  very  word  ' '  surrender "  to  be 
breathed  within  the  walls  of  Ulm.  He  announced  the 
arrival  of  two  powerful  armies,  one  of  Austrians,  the 
other  of  Russians,  whose  appearance  "would  presently 
raise  the  blockade. ' '  He  even  declared  his  intention  of 
eating  horseflesh  rather  than  listen  to  any  terms  of  cap- 
itulation ! 

On  the  morning  of  October  1 5th  Napoleon  finally  resolved 
to  bring  the  affair  to  a  close,  and  gave  orders  to  Marshal 
Ney  to  storm  the  heights  of  Michaelsberg.  All  at  once 
a  battery  unmasked  by  the  Austrians,  poured  its  grape- 
shot  upon  the  imperial  group.  I^annes,  who  was  to  flank 
Ney,  abruptly  seized  Napoleon's  horse  to  lead  him  out  of 
the  galling  fire.  The  latter  had  taken  up  a  position  to 
watch  Ney,  who  had  set  his  columns  in  motion.  Chang- 
ing to  a  safe  position,  the  Emperor  saw  this  intrepid 
leader  climb  the  intrenchments  raised  on  Michaelsberg, 
and  carry  them  with  the  bayonet.  lyannes  secured  another 
point  of  attack  a  moment  later. 

Napoleon  then  suspended  the  combat  until  the  next 
day,  when  he  ordered  a  few  shells  to  be  thrown  into  Ulm, 
and  in  the  evening  sent  Segur  to  General  Mack  summon- 
ing him  to  surrender.  The  envoy  had  great  difficulty 
in  getting  into  the  place.  He  was  led  blindfold  before 
Mack,  who,  striving  to  conceal  his  anxiety,  was  never- 
theless unable  to  dissemble  his  surprise  and  grief  on 
learning  the  extent  of  his  disaster  and  hopeless  position. 

On  the  1 7th  Mack  signed  articles  by  which  hostilities 
were  immediately  ceased  and  he  with  all  his  men  agreed 
to  surrender  ( !)  themselves  as  prisoners  of  war  within  ten 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  197 

days,  unless  some  Austrian  or  Russian  force  should  appear 
and  attempt  to  raise  the  blockade.  On  the  19th,  after  a 
personal  visit  to  Napoleon's  camp,  Mack  submitted  to  a 
' '  revision  ' '  of  the  treaty,  and  on  the  20th  a  formal  evacu- 
ation of  Ulm  took  place. 

Thirty-six  thousand  soldiers  filed  off  and  laid  down 
their  arms  before  Napoleon  and  his  staff.  A  large  watch- 
fire  had  been  made,  near  which  the  Emperor  posted  himself 
to  witness  the  ceremony.  General  Mack  came  forward 
and  delivered  his  sword,  exclaiming,  with  grief: 
' '  Here  is  the  unfortunate  Mack  ! ' '  Napoleon  received 
him  and  his  officers  with  the  greatest  courtesy.  Eighteen 
generals  were  dismissed  on  parole,  an  immense  quantity 
of  ammunition  of  all  sorts  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  victor, 
and   a  wagonful  of  Austrian  standards  was  sent  to  Paris. 

Napoleon  enforced  the  strictest  silence  on  his  troops 
while  this  ceremony,  so  painful  to  their  enemies  continued. 
In  one  instance  he  instantly  ordered  out  of  his  presence 
one  of  his  own  generals  from  whom  his  quick  ear  caught 
some  witticism  passed  on  the  occasion. 

All  the  Austrian  officers  were  allowed  to  return  home, 
on  giving  their  word  of  honor  not  to  serve  against 
France  until  a  general  exchange  of  prisoners  should  take 
place. 

This  campaign  is  perhaps  unexampled  in  the  history  of 
warfare  for  the  greatness  of  its  results  in  comparison  with 
the  smallness  of  the  expense  at  which  they  were  obtained. 
Of  the  French  army,  scarcely  fifteen  hundred  men  were 
killed  and  wounded  ;  while  the  Austrian  army  of  almost 
ninety  thousand  men  was  nearly  annihilated  ;  all,  with  the 
exception  of  15,000  who  escaped,  being  killed,  wounded, 
or  prisoners  ;  and  having  lost  also,  200  pieces  of  cannon 


198  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

and  ninety  flags.  It  was  a  common  remark  among  the 
troops,  "  The  Emperor  has  found  a  new  method  of  carry- 
ing on  war ;  he  makes  us  use  our  legs  instead  of  our 
bayonets."  Five-sixths  of  the  French  army  never  fired 
a  shot,  at  which  the  troops  were  much  mortified! 

Massena  was  also  successful  in  his  advance  from  I^om- 
bardy,  the  Archduke  Charles,  who  commanded  an  army  of 
80,000  men  for  Austria,  being  forced  to  abandon  Italy, 
and  Marshal  Ney  whom  Napoleon  had  detached  from  his 
own  main  army  with  orders  to  advance  in  the  Tyrol,  was 
no  less  successful.  The  number  of  prisoners  taken  in  this 
campaign  was  so  great  that  Napoleon  distributed  them 
amongst  the  agriculturists  that  their  work  in  the  fields 
might  make  up  for  the  absence  of  the  conscripts,  whom 
he  had  withdrawn  from  such  labor. 

Rumors  of  the  approach  of  the  Russians,  headed  by  the 
Emperor  Alexander  in  person,  came  fast  and  frequent.  The 
divisions  of  Massena  and  Ney  were  now  at  the  disposal  of 
Napoleon,  who  was  concentrating  his  forces  for  the  pur- 
pose of  attacking  Vienna,  and,  with  the  main  body, 
now  moved  on  the  capital  of  the  Austrian  Emperor.  The 
Emperor  Francis,  perceiving  that  Vienna  was  incapable 
of  defense,  quitted  his  palace  on  the  7th  of  November, 
and  proceeded  to  the  headquarters  of  Alexander  at 
Brunn. 

While  Napoleon  was  riding  on  horseback  on  the  Vienna 
road,  he  perceived  an  open  carriage  approaching,  in  which 
were  seated  a  priest,  and  a  lady  bathed  in  tears.  The 
Emperor  was  dressed,  as  usual,  in  the  uniform  of  a 
colonel  of  the  chasseurs  of  the  guard.  The  lady  did  not 
recognize  him.  He  inquired  the  cause  of  her  distress  and 
where  she  was  going. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  199 

"Sir,"  said  she,  "I  have  been  robbed,  about  two 
leagues  hence,  by  a  party  of  soldiers,  who  have  killed  my 
gardner.  I  am  going  to  request  that  your  emperor  will 
grant  me  a  guard  ;  he  once  knew  my  family  well,  and 
lay  under  obligations  to  them," 

"  Your  name?  "  inquired  Napoleon, 

' '  De  Brunny  ' '  answered  the  lady.  ' '  I  am  the  daughter 
of  M.  de  Marbeuf,  formerly  governor  of  Corsica." 

' '  I  am  delighted  to  meet  with  you  madame  ' '  exclaimed 
Napoleon  with  the  most  charming  frankness,  ' '  and  to 
have  an  opportunity  of  serving  you, — I  am  the  Bmperor. ' ' 

The  lady  expressed  much  surprise  and  passed  on  agree- 
ing to  wait  for  the  commander  at  headquarters.  Here  she 
was  furnished  a  piquet  of  chasseurs. 

On  the  13th  the  French  entered  Vienna,  and  Napoleon 
took  up  his  residence  in  the  Imperial  Palace  of  Schoen- 
brunn,  the  home  of  the  Austrian  Caesars.  While 
at  this  point  Napoleon  learned  of  the  success  of  the  Eng- 
lish at  Trafalgar  on  October  19th, — the  day  after  Mack 
surrendered  at  Ulm.  It  was  a  battle  sternly  contested  and 
resulted  in  the  final  annihilation  of  the  French  fleet. 
Great  as  the  triumph  was  for  England,  it  was  dearly  pur- 
chased— for  Nelson  fell,  mortally  wounded,  early  in  the 
action.  He  lived  just- long  enough  to  hear  the  cheers  of 
victory,  and  as  he  passed  away,  said,  "  Thank  God  !  I 
have  done  my  duty  !  " 

The  tidings  of  Trafalgar  served  but  as  a  new  stimulus 
to  Napoleon's  energy.  "Heaven  has  given  the  empire 
of  the  sea  to  England,"  he  said,  "but  to  us  has  fate 
decreed  the  dominion  of  the  land."  But  though  such 
signal  success  had  crowned  the  commencement  of  the 
campaign,  it  was  necessary  to  defeat  the  haughty  Rus- 


200  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

sians  before  the  object  of  the  war  could  be  considered  as 
attained.  The  broken  and  shattered  remnant  of  the  Aus- 
trian forces  had  rallied  from  different  quarters  around  the 
yet  untouched  army  of  Alexander  ;  Napoleon  had  there- 
fore waited  until  the  result  of  his  skillful  combinations  had 
drawn  around  him  the  greatest  force  he  could  expect  to 
collect,  ere  venturing  upon  a  general  battle.  He  then 
quitted  Vienna  and  put  himself  at  the  head  of  his  columns 
which  soon  found  themselves  within  reach  of  the  Russian 
and  Austrian  forces,  at  length  combined  and  ready  for 
action,  and  under  the  eye  of  their  emperors. 

Now  it  was  to  be  a  battle  of  three  emperors, — France, 
Russia  and  Austria.  Napoleon  fixed  his  headquarters  at 
Brunn,  where  he  arrived  on  the  20th  of  November,  and 
riding  over  the  plain  between  this  point  and  Austerlitz,  a 
village  about  two  miles  from  Brunn,  said  to  his  generals  : 
"  Study  this  field  well, — ^we  shall,  ere  long,  have  to  con- 
test it." 

Napoleon,  on  learning  that  the  Emperor  Alexander  was 
personally  in  the  hostile  camp,  sent  Savary  to  present  his 
compliments  to  that  sovereign,  and  of  course  "  incident- 
ally to  observe  as  much  as  he  could  of  the  numbers  and 
condition  of  the  enemy '  s  troops. ' '  The  messenger  reported 
that  the  Russians  labored  under  a  belief  that  the  reverses 
of  the  previous  campaign  were  the  result  of  unpardon- 
able cowardice  among  the  Austrians,  and  the  first  general 
battle  would  show  the  sort  of  warriors  the  Russians  were. 
Savary  said  that  from  the  conversations  he  had  for  three 
days  with  nearly  thirty  coxcombs  about  the  person  of 
Alexander,  that  presumption,  inconsiderateness,  and 
imprudence,  reigned  in  the  decisions  of  the  military  as 
much  as  in  the  political  cabinet,  and  that  an  army  so  con- 
ducted must  of  necessity  commit  great  faults. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  201 

The  Czar  sent  a  young  aide-de-camp  to  return  the  com- 
pHment  carried  by  Savary,  and  he  found  the  French 
soldiery  engaged  in  fortifying  their  position — a  position 
which  Napoleon  had  some  time  before  determined  to 
occupy  ;  but  the  negotiations  were  of  no  avail :  Napoleon 
wanted  either  an  overwhelming  battle  or  peace.  The 
aide-de-camp  sent  by  Alexander  was  impressed  with  what 
appeared  to  him  to  be  evidence  of  fear  and  apprehension 
on  the  part  of  the  French.  The  placing  of  strong  guards 
and  fortifications,  thrown  up  with  such  haste,  appeared 
to  him  like  the  precautions  of  an  army  half  beaten. 
The  Russian  prince  discussed  every  point  with  an  air  of 
impertinence  difficult  to  be  conceived.  He  spoke  to  Na- 
poleon as  if  he  had  been  conversing  with  a  Russian  officer  ; 
but  the  Emperor  repressed  his  indignation,  and  the  young 
man  returned  under  a  full  conviction  that  the  French 
army  was  on  the  brink  of  ruin.  Several  old  Austrian 
generals,  who  had  made  campaigns  against  Napoleon,  are 
said  to  have  warned  the  Russian  council  against  too  much 
confidence  as  they  were  to  march  against  old  soldiers  and 
able  officers.  They  said  they  had  seen  Napoleon,  when 
reduced  to  a  handful  of  men,  repossess  himself  of  victory, 
under  the  most  difficult  circumstances,  by  rapid  and  unfor- 
seen  operations,  in  which  manner  he  had  destroyed 
numerous  armies.  The  presumptuous  young  man  declared 
that  the  presence  of  the  Russian  Emperor  would  inspire 
the  troops  to  victory  especially  as  they  would  be  aided  by 
the  picked  troops  of  the  imperial  guard  of  Russia. 

On  the  I  St  of  December,  on  seeing  the  Russians  begin 
to  descend  from  a  chain  of  heights  on  which  they  might 
have  received  an  attack  with  great  advantage  to  them- 
selves, and  have  remained  in  safety  until  the  Archduke 


202  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Charles  could  come  up  with  the  80,000  men  in  Bohemia 
and  Hungary,  Napoleon  exclained  rapturously,  as  he 
witnessed  the  rash  manoeuvre  :  ' '  In  twenty-four  hours 
that  army  will  be  mine  !  "  In  the  meantime,  withdraw- 
ing his  outposts  and  concentrating  his  forces,  he  continued 
to  imitate  a  conscious  inferiority,  which  was  far  from 
existing.  In  the  order  of  the  day  (December  i )  before  the 
battle  of  Austerlitz,  Napoleon  inserted  the  following 
proclamation  : 

"  Soldiers,  the  Russians  are  before  you,  to  avenge  the 
Austrian  army  at  Ulm.  They  consist  of  the  same  battal- 
ions you  beat  at  Hollenbrun  and  have  constantly  pursued. 
The  positions  we  occupy  are  formidable  ;  and,  while  they 
march  to  my  right,  they  shall  present  me  their  flank. — 
Soldiers,  I  will  direct  myself  all  j^our  battalions.  I  shall 
keep  at  a  distance  from  the  firing,  if,  with  your  accustomed 
bravery,  you  carry  confusion  and  disorder  into  the 
enemy's  ranks  ;  but,  should  victory  appear  for  a  moment 
doubtful,  you  shall  see  j^our  Bmperor  expose  himself  to 
the  first  blows  ;  for  victory  cannot  hesitate  on  this  day, 
in  which  the  honor  of  the  French  infantr}^,  of  so  much' 
importance  to  the  whole  army,  is  concerned.  Suffer  not 
the  ranks  to  be  thinned,  under  pretense  of  carrying  off 
the  wounded  ;  but  let  each  man  be  well  persuaded  that 
we  must  conquer  the  hirelings  of  England,  who  are 
animated  with  so  deep  a  hatred  of  our  nation.  This  vic- 
tory must  terminate  our  campaign  ;  when  we  shall  resume 
our  winter  quarters,  and  be  joined  by  the  new  armies 
forming  in  France.  The  peace  which  I  make  will  be 
worthy   of  my    people,     of    you    and    mj^self 

(Signed)  Napoleon." 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  203 

At  one  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  the  2nd  of  December, 
Napoleon,  having  slept  for  an  hour  by  a  watchfire,  got 
on  horseback  and  proceeded  to  reconnoitre  the  front  of 
his  position.  He  wished  to  do  so  without  being  recog- 
nized, but  the  soldiers  penetrated  the  secret,  and,  lighting 
great  fires  of  straw  along  the  line,  80,000  men  received 
him  from  post  to  post  with  great  enthusiasm.  They 
reminded  him  that  it  was  the  anniversary  of  his  corona- 
tion, and  declared  that  they  would  celebrate  the  day  in  a 
manner  worthy  of  his  glory. 

' '  Only  promise  us, ' '  cried  one  old  grenadier,  ' '  that 
you  will  keep  yourself  out  of  the  fire:  I  promise  you  in 
the  name  of  the  grenadiers  of  the  army  that  you  will  have 
to  fight  only  with  your  eyes,  and  we  will  bring  you  the 
flags  and  artillery  of  the  Russian  army  to  celebrate  the 
anniversary  of  your  coronation. ' ' 

* '  I  will  do  so, ' '  answered  the  Emperor,  ' '  but  I  shall 
be  with  the  reserve  ttntil  you  need  us.'  This  promise 
Napoleon  soon  repeated  in  his  proclamation.  As  he  threw 
down  his  pen  after  signing  this  document,  he  ex- 
claimed :  ' '  This  is  the  noblest  evening  of  my  life  ;  but  I 
shall  lose  too  many  of  these  brave  fellows  to-morrow. 
The  anguish  which  I  experience  at  this  idea  makes  me 
feel  they  are  really  my  children  ;  and  truly  I  am  vexed 
with  myself  for  these  sensations,  as  I  fear  they  will  unman 
me  on  the  field  of  battle. ' ' 

In  his  preparations  for  this  decisive  contest  which  he 
made  immediately,  ten  battalions  of  the  Imperial  Guard, 
with  ten  of  Oudinot's  division,  were  to  be  kept  in  reserve 
in  the  rear  of  the  line,  under  the  eyes  of  Napoleon  himself , 
who  destined  them,  with  forty  field-pieces,  to  act  where- 
ever  the  fate  of  battle  should  render  their  services  most 
necessary. 

14 


204  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

"  The  battle  was  planned  by  Napoleon  in  every  detail," 
says  Segur,  "just  as  lie  had  planned  the  strategic  move- 
ments of  the  army.  In  the  early  morning  he  sent  for  all  his 
aides-de-camp  to  come  to  the  small  house  where  he  had 
spent  the  night.  We  had  a  slight  repast,  which,  like  him- 
self, we  ate  standing  ;  after  which,  putting  on  his  sword, 
he  said,  '  Nowgentlmen,  let  us  go  and  begin  a  great  day.' 
We  all  ran  to  our  horses.  A  moment  afterwards  we  saw,  on 
the  top  of  the  hill  which  the  soldiers  called  '  the  Emperor's 
hill,'  arriving  from  the  various  points  of  our  line,  followed 
each  by  their  aides-de-camp,  all  the  chiefs  of  our  army 
corps,  Murat,  Ivannes,  Bernadotte,  Soult,  Davoust,-all 
coming  to  receive  final  orders.  If  I  were  to  live  as  long 
as  the  world  shall  last,  I  would  never  forget  that  scene." 

After  a  hazy,  misty  daybreak,  the  sun  at  last  arose  with 
uncommon  brilliancy,  so  bright  in  fact  that  ' '  the  sun  of 
Austerlitz  ' '  afterwards  fell  into  a  proverb  with  the  French 
soldiery,  who  hailed  similar  dawns  with  exultation  and  as 
a  sure  omen  of  victory.  The  Emperor  said,  as  he  passed 
in  front  of  several  regiments  :  "  Soldiers,  we  must  finish 
this  campaign  by  a  thunderbolt  which  shall  confound 
the  pride  of  our  enemies. ' '  Immediately  they  raised  their 
hats  on  the  bayonets'  points  and  cries  of,  ' '  Live  the  Empe- 
ror ! ' '  formed  the  actual  signal  for  battle.  A  moment 
afterwards  the  horizon  cleared  up  and  as  the  sun  darted 
forth  its  glistening  rays  the  cannonading  was  heard  at  the 
extremity  of  the  right  line.  The  great  battle  of  Austerlitz 
had  begun. 

At  the  opening  of  the  engagement,  Kutusoflf,  the 
Russsian  general -in -chief,  fell  into  a  snare  laid  for  him  by 
Napoleon,  and  sent  a  large  division  of  his  army  to  turn 
the  right  of  the  French.     His  troops,   detached  tor  this 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  205 

purpose,  met  with  unexpected  resistance  from  Davoust, 
and  were  held  in  check.  Napoleon  at  once  seized  the 
opportunity  given  him  by  the  enemy  in  leaving  a  deep  gap 
in  their  line,  and  upon  that  space  Soult  forthwith  poured 
a  force  which  entirely  cut  oil  all  communication  between 
the  Russian  centre  and  left. 

The  Czar  quickly  perceived  the  fatal  consequences  of 
the  movement,  and  ordered  his  guards  to  rush  to  the 
eminence  called  the  hill  of  Pratzen,  where  the  encounter 
was  taking  place,  and  beat  back  Soult.  The*  Russians 
succeeded  in  driving  the  French  before  them,  when  Napo- 
leon ordered  Bessieres  to  their  rescue  with  the  Imperial 
Guards.  The  Russians  had  become  somewhat  disordered 
from  the  impatience  of  their  temporary  victory,  and 
although  they  resisted  Bessieres  sternly,  they  were  finally 
broken  and  fled.  The  regiment  of  the  Grand  Duke  Con- 
stantine,  who  gallantly  led  the  Russians,  was  now  anni- 
hilated and  the  duke  only  escaped  by  the  fleetness  of  his 
horse. 

The  French  centre  now  advanced,  and  the  charges  of 
Murat's  cavalry  were  most  decisive,  while  the  left  wing, 
under  the  command  of  I^annes,  marched  forward,  en 
echelons,  by  regiments,  in  the  same  manner  as  if  they  had 
been  exercising  by  divisions.  A  tremendous  cannonade 
then  took  place  along  the  whole  line  ;  two  hundred  and 
three  pieces  of  cannon,  and  nearly  two  hundred  thousand 
men,  being  engaged,  so  that  it  was  indeed  a  giant  combat. 
Success  could  not  be  doubtful :  in  a  moment  the  Russians 
were  all  but  routed,  their  colonel,  artillery,  standards 
and  everything  being  already  captured.  At  i  o'clock  the 
victory  was  decided  ;  it  had  never  been  doubtful  for  a 
moment;  and  not  a  man  of  the  reserves  was  required. 


2o6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

From  the  heights  of  Austerlitz  the  Emperors  of  Russia 
and  Austria  beheld  the  total  ruin  of  their  centre  as  they 
had  already  of  their  left.  The  right  wing  only  remained 
unbroken,  it  having  contested  well  the  impetuous  charge 
of  lyannes  ;  but  Napoleon  could  now  gather  round  them 
on  all  sides,  and,  his  artillery  plunging  incessant  fire  on 
them  from  the  heights,  they  at  length  found  it  impossible 
to  hold  their  ground  and  were  driven  from  position  to 
position.  They  were  at  last  forced  down  into  a  hollow 
where  some  frozen  lakes  offered  them  the  only  means  of 
escape  from  the  closing  cannonade.  As  they  did  so  the 
French  broke  the  ice  about  them  by  a  storm  of  shot  from 
200  heavy  cannon,  and  nearly  2,000  men  died  on  the  spot, 
some  swept  away  by  artillery,  but  the  greater  part  being 
drowned  beneath  the  broken  ice. 

The  cries  of  the  dying  Russians,  as  they  sank  beneath 
the  waters,  were  drowned,  however,  by  the  victorious 
shouts  of  the  French,  who  were  pursuing  the  scattering 
remnants  of  the  enemy  in  every  direction.  In  the  bulletin 
of  the  engagement  Napoleon  compared  the  scene  to  that 
at  Aboukir,  "  when  the  sea  was  covered  with  turbans." 

The  Kmperor  had  addressed  his  soldiers  on  the  evening 
preceding  the  battle  to  heighten  their  courage,  and  pres- 
age to  them  the  victory ;  he  did  not  forget  to  address 
himself  to  them  again  after  the  fight,  and  felicitate  them 
upon  having  so  nobly  contributed  to  verify  his  prediction. 
"  Soldiers,"  he  said  to  them,  "  You  have  on  this  day  of 
Austerlitz  justified  all  that  which  I  expected  from  your 
intrepidity.  You  have  decorated  your  eagles  with  immor- 
tal glory.  When  all  that  is  necessary  to  assure  the  happi- 
ness and  prosperity  of  our  country  is  accomplished,  I  will 
lead  you  back  to  France.     There  you  will  be  the  objects 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  207 

of  my  tenderest  solicitude.  My  people  will  joyously  greet 
you  again,  and  it  will  suffice  for  you  to  say  :  '  I  was  at 
the  battle  of  Austerltiz,'  and  for  them  to  reply,  '  Behold 
a  brave  man  ! '  " 

In  later  years  Napoleon  said  of  this  engagement :  "I 
have  fought  thirty  battles  like  that,  but  I  have  never  seen 
so  decisive  a  victory,  or  one  where  the  chances  were  so 
unevenly  balanced."  At  another  time  while  at  St. 
Helena  he  said,  "  If  I  had  not  conquered  at  Austerlitz  I 
should  have  had  all  Prussia  on  me." 

It  was  with  great  difficulty  that  the  Emperors  of  Rus- 
sia and  Austria  rallied  some  fragments  of  their  armies 
around  them,  and,  terror-stricken,  effected  their  retreat. 
With  the  conqueror  there  remained  20,000  prisoners,  40 
pieces  of  artillery,  and  all  the  standards  of  the  Imperial 
Guard  of  Russia.  Such  was  the  battle  of  Austerlitz,  or 
as  the  French  soldiers  delighted  to  call  it,  ' '  The  Battle  of 
the  Emperors"  ;  and  thus  did  Napoleon's  army  fulfill 
its  pledge  to  celebrate  the  anniversary  of  his  coronation. 

The  fleeing  Emperors  halted  at  midnight  for  council, 
and  decided  to  send  a  messenger  to  Napoleon  at  daylight 
with  proposals  for  peace.  The  envoy  was  courteously 
received,  and  arrangements  were  at  once  made  for  a  meet- 
ing of  the  Austrian  and  French  Emperors  at  ten  o'clock 
the  next  day.  They  met  about  three  leagues  from  Aus- 
terlitz, near  a  mill.  Napoleon  was  the  first  to  arrive  on 
the  ground;  he  at  once  ordered  that  two  fires  be  made, 
and  with  a  squadron  of  his  Guard  drawn  up  at  a  distance 
of  about  two  hundred  paces,  awaited  the  arrival  of 
Francis  and  his  personal  suite.  When  Francis  came 
in  sight,  accompanied  by  several  princes  and  generals, 
and  an  escort  of  Hungarian  cavalry,   Napoleon  advanced 


2o8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

to  his  carriage,  and  embraced  him.  The  two  Emperors, 
each  with  an  attendant,  then  went  to  one  of  the  fires  near 
the  entrance  to  a  military  hut,  while  the  suites  of  the  two 
sovereigns  drew  around  the  other  fire,  a  few  paces  distant. 

' '  Such  are  the  palaces  you  have  compelled  me  to 
occupy  for  these  three  months, ' '  said  Napoleon,  pointing  to 
his  modest  quarters. 

"  You  have  made  such  good  use  of  them,"  answered 
Francis,  '  'that  you  ought  not  to  complain  of  their  accom- 
modation. ' ' 

The  defeated  Emperor  is  represented  as  having  thrown 
the  blame  of  the  war  upon  the  English.  ' '  They  are  a  set 
of  merchants,"  he  said,  "who  would  set  the  continent  on 
fire,  in  order  to  secure  themselves  the  commerce  of  the 
world." 

When  the  two  great  leaders  separated,  after  an  interview 
lasting  an  hour,  they  again  embraced.  Napoleon  saying 
in  the  hearing  of  the  gentlemen  of  the  suites, — Prince  John 
of  Lichtenstein,  near  Francis,  and  Marshal  Berthier,  near 
Napoleon —  :  "I  agree  to  it ;  but  your  Majesty  must  not 
make  war  upon  me  again."  "  No,  I  promise  you  I  will 
not,"  said  Francis  in  reply  ;  "I  will  keep  my  word" — 
a  promise  that  was  soon  violated. 

It  was  understood  that  the  Emperor  of  Russia,  although 
not  present,  was  to  abide  by  the  agreement  for  an  armis- 
tice. Alexander  so  assured  Marshal  Davoust,  who  had 
pursued  him  the  night  of  the  battle,  and  the  Russians 
were  allowed  by  Napoleon  to  retire  unmolested  to  their 
own  territory,  on  the  royal  word  of  Francis  that  Russia 
would  adhere  to  his  ally  of  Austria. 

'  *  The  Russian  army  is  surrounded, ' '  said  Napoleon  to 
Francis  ;  "  Not  a  man   can   escape   me    but  I  wish  to 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  209 

oblige  their  Emperor,  and  will  stop  the  march  of  my 
columns  if  your  Majesty  promises  me  that  these  Russians 
shall  evacuate  Germany,  and  the  Austrian  and  Prussian 
parts  of  Poland."  "It  is  the  purpose  of  the  Emperor 
Alexander  to  do  so, ' '  was  the  reply.  No  other  engage- 
ment was  required  of  the  Czar  than  his  word. 

When  the  negotiations  had  been  completed,  and  the 
Emperor  Francis  had  departed, Napoleon  walked  hurriedly 
to  and  fro  for  a  short  time,  and  after  a  deep  silence  he 
was  heard  to  say  :  "I  have  acted  very  unwisely.  I  could 
have  followed  up  my  victory,  and  taken  up  the  whole  of 
the  Austrian  and  Russian  armies.  They  are  both  entirely 
in  my  power.  But — let  it  be.  It  will  at  least  cause  some 
less  tears  to  be  shed." 

Napoleon  then  went  over  the  field  of  battle,  ordering 
the  wounded  to  be  removed,  when  some  of  those  unfor- 
tunates, forgetting  their  sufferings  asked,  ' '  Is  the  victory 
quite  certain  ?  ' '  The  foot  guards  of  the  Emperor,  not 
having  been  permitted  to  engage,  actually  wept  and 
insisted  upon  doing  something  to  identify  them  with  the 
victory 

"  Be  satisfied,"  said  Napoleon,  "you  are  the  reserve  ; 
it  will  be  better  if  you  have  nothing  to  do  today." 

"  The  commander  of  the  artillery  of  the  imperial  Russian 
guard  having  lost  his  cannon,  met  the  French  Emperor 
and  said,  * '  Sire,  order  me  to  be  shot,  I  have  lost  my 
cannon." 

' '  Young  man, ' '  replied  Napoleon,  ' '  I  esteem  your 
grief ;  but  one  may  be  beaten  by  my  army,  and  still  retain 
some  pretension  to  glory." 

The  brief  campaign  was  followed  by  a  treaty  with  the 
Emperor  of  Austria,  signed  December    15th,    1805,   and 


2IO  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

another  with  Prussia,  signed  December  26th  at  Vienna. 
The  victor  of  AusterUtz  made  his  own  terms  in  the  nego- 
tiations. Austria  gave  up  the  last  of  her  Italian  usurpa- 
tions to  be  annexed  to  the  Kingdom  of  Italy,  and  the 
Tyrol  to  Bavaria,  and  yielded  other  stipulations  which 
the  conqueror  demanded,  but  which  were  so  moderate 
that  they  excited  the  wonder  and  admiration  of  all 
Europe. 

Previous  to  Napoleon's  departure  for  Schoenbiunn  on 
the  27th  of  December  he  issued  the  following  proclamation 
to  his  army: 

' '  Soldiers  !  Peace  between  myself  and  the  Emperor  of 
Austria  is  signed.  You  have,  in  this  late  season  of  the 
year,  made  two  campaigns.  You  have  performed  every- 
thing I  expected.  I  am  setting  out  for  my  capital.  I 
have  promoted  and  distributed  rewards  to  those  who  have 
most  distinguished  themselves.  I  will  perform  everything 
I  have  promised.  You  have  seen  that  your  Emperor  has 
shared  all  your  dangers  and  fatigues  ;  you  shall  likewise 
behold  him  surrounded  by  all  that  grandeur  and  splendor 
which  become  the  sovereign  of  the  first  nation  in  the  world. 
In  the  beginning  of  the  month  of  May,  I  will  give  a  grand 
festival  in  Paris ;  you  shall  all  be  there.  We  will  cel- 
ebrate the  memory  of  those  who,  in  these  campaign  have 
faUen  on  the  field  of  honor.  The  world  shall  see  that  we 
are  ready  to  follow  their  example,  and,  if  necessary,  do 
more  than  we  have  done,  against  those  who  suffer  them- 
selves to  be  misled  by  the  gold  of  the  eternal  enemy  of  the 
continent. ' ' 

The  news  of  the  success  of  the  army  was  received 
with  the  greatest  enthusiasm  by  the  majority  of  the 
French  people. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREA  T  211 

Madame  de  Remusat  in  writing  to  her  husband  from 
Paris  after  the  receipt  of  the  news  of  the  battle  of  Auster- 
Htz,  said:  "You  cannot  imagine  how  excited  everyone 
is.  Praise  of  the  Emperor  is  on  everyone's  lips  ;  The  most 
recalcitrant  are  obliged  to  lay  down  their  arms,  and  to 
say  with  the  Emperor  of  Russia,  '  He  is  a  man  of  destiny. '  " 

The  campaign  had  consolidated  the  Empire  of  Napo- 
leon, and  when  he  returned  to  France  he  was  received 
with  exultation  by  the  citizens,  who  tendered  him  fete 
after  fete  such  as  had  not  been  witnessed  at  the  capital 
for  years.  This  was  followed  by  the  elevation  of  many  of 
his  kinsmen  and  heroes  to  thrones  of  pomp  and  power, 
coronation  following  coronation  in  rapid  succession,  prince- 
doms and  dukedoms  being  accompanied  with  grants  of 
extensive  estates  in  the  countries  which  the  French  armies 
had  conquered.  From  that  moment,  the  fanaticism  of 
military  glory  quite  effaced  the  few  remaining  impressions 
made  by  the  love  of  liberty. 


VI 

THE  BATTlvE  OF  JENA 

The  establishment  of  the  Confederation  of  the  Rhine, 
which  was  one  of  the  great  consequences  of  Austerlitz, 
rendered  Napoleon  in  effect,  sovereign  of  a  large  part  of 
Germany.  The  kings  of  Bavaria  and  Wurtemberg, 
Prince  Murat,  the  Grand  Duke  of  Berg,  and  several  other 
sovereigns  of  Germany,  had  leagued  together  in  an  alliance 


212  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

with  the  French  Empire  ;  and  they  constituted  so  formid- 
able a  power  that  the  Emperor  added  a  new  title  to  his 
name — the  ' '  Protector ' '  of  this  confederacy.  Thus  Na- 
poleon became  sovereign  of  a  principal  part  of  Germany, 
and  his  allies  were  obliged  to  furnish,  at  his  call,  60,000 
armed  men.  The  only  method  of  counteracting  the  con- 
solidation of  French  power  over  all  Germany  seemed  to 
be  that  of  creating  another  confederacy  in  the  Northern 
circles,  capable  of  balancing  the  league  of  the  Rhine,  and 
to  be  known  as  the  Northern  Alliance.  This  alliance 
Napoleon  determined  to  suppress.  The  relations  between 
France  and  Prussia  continued  in  an  unsettled  state,  Prus- 
sia refusing  on  the  one  hand  to  embrace  the  Confedera- 
tion proposed  by  the  cabinet  of  Berlin,  and  yet  declining 
on  the  other  to  form  part  of  the  Rhenish  league  to  which 
Bonaparte  had  frequently  and  urgently  invited  it. 

A  year  had  elapsed  since  the  Emperor  of  Russia  had 
signed  the  famous  treaty  of  Potsdam,  wheedling  the  pliant 
King  of  Prussia  and  his  wife  with  all  sorts  of  promises, in- 
cluding an  offer  on  the  part  of  England  to  pay  the  costs  of 
another  campaign  against  Napoleon  and  his  Empire.  For 
some  weeks  strong  hopes  were  entertained  of  a  satisfactory 
conclusion  to  peace  overtures,  but  in  the  end  the  negoti- 
ations broke  up,  on  the  refusal  of  Napoleon  to  concede 
Malta  to  England ,  unless  England  would  permit  him  to 
conquer  Sicily  from  the  unfortunate  sovereign  whose 
Italian  kingdom  had  already  been  transferred  to  his 
brother  Joseph. 

The  death  of  Fox,  according  to  Napoleon  himself, 
was  the  immediate  cause  of  the  failure  of  these  nego- 
tiations. The  Emperor  maintained  that  had  the  great 
English  statesman  lived — he  died  on  the  23rd  of  January, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  213 

1806 — the  negotiations  would  have  been  resumed  and 
pushed  to  a  successful  close.  When  the  Emperor  of  Rus- 
sia went  to  Berlin  he  offered  Prussia  all  the  forces  of  his 
own  great  Empire.  War-like  preparations  of  every  kind 
filled  the  Kingdom  of  Prussia  during  August  and  Septem- 
ber 1 806.  Notwithstanding  the  protestations  made  almost 
daily  by  the  Prussian  government,  through  its  minister 
at  Paris,  towards  the  middle  of  August  her  preparations 
assumed  such  a  decided  character  that  her  real  object 
could  no  longer  be  concealed.  A  friendly  letter  was  even 
dispatched  from  the  King  of  Prussia  to  Napoleon  and  the 
French  ambassador  at  Berlin  was  treated  with  due  con- 
sideration but  which  was  far  from  honest  at  heart. 

On  the  2  ist  of  September  Napoleon  wrote  to  the  princes 
of  the  Confederation  of  the  Rhine,  requesting  them  to  fur- 
nish their  contingent  troops  for  his  army,  and  which  was 
complied  with,  according  to  treaty.  On  the  25th  the 
Emperor  quitted  his  imperial  residence  to  place  himself 
at  the  head  of  the  army.  While  at  the  theatre  at  St. 
Cloud  he  received  a  dispatch  from  Murat  containing  an 
account  of  an  attack  made  on  French  troops  by  some 
Prussian  detatchments.  * '  I  see  they  are  determined  to  try 
us, ' '  he  said  to  Count  Rapp  and  orders  were  immediately 
given  to  prepare  for  departure  to  the  frontier.  He 
arrived  at  Mayence  on  the  28th  and  on  the  ist  of  October 
passed  the  Rhine. 

On  this  same  day  the  Prussian  minister  at  Paris 
presented  a  note  to  Talleyrand,  Minister  of  Foreign 
Affairs,  an  ultimatum  in  which  Prussia  demanded,  among 
other  things,  that  the  formation  of  a  Confederacy  in  the 
North  of  Germany  should  no  longer  be  thwarted  by 
French  interference,  to  renounce  the  kingdoms  of  Holland 


214  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

and  Italy,  and  that  the  French  troops  within  the  territories 
of  the  Rhenish  league  should  recross  the  Rhine  into 
France  by  the  8th  of  the  same  month  of  October, — a  virt- 
ual declaration  of  war. 

The  conduct  of  Prussia  in  thus  rushing  into  hostilities, 
without  waiting  for  the  advance  of  her  allies,  the  Rus- 
sians, was  as  rash  as  her  holding  back  from  Austria 
during  the  campaign  of  Austerlitz  was  cowardly.  Napo- 
leon had  not  patience  to  finish  reading  this  document, 
conveying  those  demands,  but  threw  it  down  with 
contempt. 

Napoleon  made  answer  to  the  Prussian  note  from  his 
headquarters  at  Bamberg  on  October  6th.  He  addressed 
a  proclamation  to  his  army  to  inform  them  of  the  enemy 
they  were  about  to  fight.  ' '  Soldiers, ' '  said  he,  "  the  war- 
cry  has  been  heard  at  Berlin  ;  for  two  months  our  provoca- 
tion has  been  increased  each  day  .  .  .  lyCt  us  march — 
let  the  Prussian  army  meet  with  the  same  fate  it  evinced 
fourteen  years  ago  on  the  plains  of  Champagne. ' '  Thiers, 
the  eminent  historian,  says  in  his  ' '  History  of  the  Con- 
sulate and  the  Empire  of  France  under  Napoleon  "  :  "It 
was  the  height  of  imprudence  on  the  part  of  Prussia  to 
enter  into  a  contest  with  Napoleon  at  a  moment  when  the 
French  army,  returning  from  Austerlitz,  was  still  in  the 
heart  of  Germany,  and  more  capable  of  acting  than  any 
army  ever  was. ' ' 

It  was  evident  that  Napoleon  did  not  feel  the  least  con- 
cern about  the  approaching  war.  He  wrote  to  his  brothers 
in  Naples  and  in  Holland  at  this  time  assuring  them  that 
the  present  struggle  would  be  terminated  more  speedily 
than  the  preceding.  He  called  upon  them  to  observe  in 
what  manner  a  German  sovereign  still  dared  to  insult  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREA2  215 

soldiers  of  Austerlitz.  Napoleon  was  then  on  the  German 
side  of  the  Rhine  in  person.  The  Prussian  Council  had 
directed  their  army  to  advance  towards  the  French  instead 
of  lying  on  their  own  frontier,  and  the  army  accordingly 
invaded  the  Saxon  provinces.  The  Elector  of  Saxony 
was  compelled  to  accept  the  alliance  vv^hich  the  cabinet  of 
Berlin  urged  on  him,  and  reluctantly  joined  his  troops 
with  those  of  Prussia. 

At  Bamberg,  on  the  same  day  he  issued  his  proclama- 
tion to  his  soldiers,  Napoleon  said  to  Berthier  :  ' '  Marshal, 
we  have  a  rendezvous  of  honor  appointed  for  the  8th  ;  a 
Frenchman  never  fails  to  keep  them  ;  but  as  we  are  told 
that  a  beautiful  queen  wishes  to  be  a  witness  of  the  fight, 
let  us  be  courteous,  and  march,  without  sleeping,  for 
Saxony, ' '  Napoleon  alluded  to  the  Queen  of  Prussia  who 
was  with  the  Prussian  army,  dressed  as  an  Amazon,  wear- 
ing the  uniform  of  her  regiment  of  dragoons,  "writing 
twenty  letters  a  day ' '  said  the  first  bulletin  sent  to  Paris, 
' '  to  fan  the  flame  in  all  parts. ' ' 

No  sooner  did  Napoleon  learn  that  the  Prussians  had 
advanced  into  the  heart  of  Saxony  than  he  formed  his 
plan  of  campaign  ;  and  they,  persisting  in  their  advance, 
and  taking  up  a  position  on  the  Saale,  afforded  him 
the  means  of  repeating  at  their  expense,  the  very  man- 
oeuvres which  had  ruined  the  Austrians  in  the  preceding 
campaign.  The  French  commander  at  once  perceived 
that  the  Prussian  army  was  extended  upon  too  wide  a  line, 
thus  enabling  him  the  better  to  destroy  it  in  detail.  He 
also  discovered  that  the  enemy  had  all  its  principal  stores 
and  magazines  at  Naumburg  to  the  rearward,  and  he 
resolved  to  commence  operations  by  an  attempt  to  turn 
the  flank  and  seize  the  magazines  ere  the  main  body  of 


2i6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

the  Prussians,  lying  at  Weimar,  could  be  aware  of  his 
movement.  The  Bmperor  quitted  Bamberg  on  the  8th, 
at  three  in  the  morning,  and  arrived  on  the  same  day  at 
Cronach.     Every  corps  of  the  army  was  then  in  motion. 

The  French  came  forward  in  three  great  divisions  ;  the 
corps  of  Ney  and  Soult  in  the  direction  of  Hof  ;  Davoust, 
Murat  and  Bernadotte  towards  Saalburg  and  Schleiz.and 
Cannes  and  Augereau  upon  Coburg  and  Saalfeld.  These 
last  generals  were  opposed  at  Saalfeld  with  much  firm- 
ness by  Prince  Louis  of  Prussia,  cousin-german  to 
the  king,  who  imprudently  abandoned  the  bridge 
over  the  Saale, — which  he  might  have  defended  with 
success, — and  came  out  into  the  open  plain  where  his 
troops  were  overpowered  by  the  French.  Fighting  hand 
to  hand  with  a  subaltern  who  ran  up  to  him  and  cried, 
' '  Surrender,  General  ! ' '  the  brave  young  oflBcer  in 
brilliant  uniform  and  adorned  with  all  his  decorations, 
replied  with  a  sabre  cut,  and  was  immediately  struck  down 
by  a  mortal  thrust  in  the  face  with  a  sabre,  which 
occasioned  it  to  be  remarked  in  the  second  bulletin 
that ' '  the  first  blow  of  the  war  had  killed  one  of  its 
authors. ' ' 

Prince  Frederick  Christian  Louis  of  Prussia  had  been  very 
impatient  to  commence  the  war  and  urged  and  hastened 
hostilities.  He  was,  besides,  a  man  of  great  courage  and 
talent.  Rapp  in  his  "Memoirs  "says:  "Napoleon, 
who  did  not  like  this,  petulant  eagerness,  was  conversing 
with  us  one  evening  respecting  the  generals  of  the  enemy's 
army.  Some  one  present  happened  to  mention  Prince 
Louis.  '  As  for  him '  said  he,  '  I  foretell  that  he  will  be 
killed  in  this  campaign.'  Who  could  have  thought  the 
prediction  would  so  soon  have  been  fulfilled  ?  ' ' 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  217 

The  Prussians  fled,  leaving  the  bridge  which  gave  the 
French  access  to  the  country  behind  the  Saale.  The  flank 
of  the  Prussian  position  was  turned  ;  the  French  army 
passed  entirely  around  them,  and  Napoleon  seized  and 
blew  up  the  magazines  atNaumburg.  The  explosion 
announced  to  the  King  of  Prussia  and  his  generalissimo, 
the  Duke  of  Brunswick,  that  Napoleon  was  in  their  rear. 
From  this  moment  the  Prussians  were  isolated  and  com- 
pletely cut  off  from  all  their  resources — as  completely  as 
the  army  of  Mack  was  at  Ulm  the  year  before.  The 
engagement  at  Schleiz  contributed  to  hasten  the  retreat 
of  the  enemy  which  threw  away  upon  the  roads  a  great 
number  of  muskets  and  hats,  and  leaving  in  the  hands  of 
the  French  400  prisoners  and  as  many  killed  or  wounded. 
But  the  moral  effect  of  the  action  was  greater  than  the 
material,  the  Prussians  learning  for  the  first  time  the  sort 
of  soldiers  they  had  to  deal  with. 

Napoleon  was  extremely  pleased  with  this  first  action 
at  Schleiz,  as  it  proved  how  little  the  Prussian  cavalry, 
though  excellently  mounted  and  very  skillful  in  the  man- 
agement of  its  horses,  was  to  be  feared  by  his  solid 
infantry  and  bold  horse  soldiers. 

The  Duke  of  Brunswick  who  flattered  himself  that  the 
French  could  not  debouch,  hastily  endeavored  to  concen- 
trate his  forces  for  the  purpose  of  cutting  his  way  back 
again  to  the  frontier  which  he  had  so  rashly  abandoned. 
Napoleon,  meanwhile,  had  posted  his  divisions  so  as  to 
watch  the  chief  passages  of  the  Saale,  and  awaited  the 
coming  of  his  outwitted  opponent. 

The  manifesto  of  Frederick  William  had  arrived  at  the 
capital  a  day  or  two  after  Napoleon  had  quitted  Paris  for 
the  camp,  and  it  was  now  that  he  found  time  to  answer  it 


2i8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

by  calling  on  his  own  marshals  to  witness  how  "The 
French  army  has  done  as  it  was  bidden  ;  this  is  the  8th  of 
October,  and  we  have  evacuated  the  territories  of  the 
Confederation  of  the  Rhine  !  ' ' 

To  the  King  of  Prussia  Napoleon  wrote  :  '  'Believe  me, 
my  strength  is  such  that  your  forces  cannot  long  balance 
the  victory.  But  wherefore  shed  so  much  blood  ?  To 
what  purpose  ?  I  will  hold  to  your  Majesty  the  same 
language  I  held  to  the  Emperor  Alexander  two  days 
before  the  battle  of  Austerlitz  :  '  Why  should  we  make 
our  subjects  slay  each  other?  I  do  not  prize  a  victory  which 
is  purchased  by  the  lives  of  so  many  of  my  children. '  If  I 
were  just  commencing  my  military  career,  and  if  I  had  any 
reason  to  fear  the  chances  of  war,  this  language  would  be 
wholly  misplaced.  Sire,  your  Majesty  will  be  vanquished; 
you  will  have  compromised  the  repose  of  your  life,  the 
existence  of  your  subjects, without  the  shadow  of  a  pretext. 
At  present  you  are  uninjured,  and  may  treat  with  me  in 
a  manner  conformable  with  your  rank  ;  before  a  month 
has  passed  you  will  treat,  but  in  a  different  position. ' ' 

On  learning  of  the  fall  of  Naumburg,  the  Prussian  king 
knew  full  well  the  imminent  danger  of  his  position.  His 
army  was  at  once  set  in  motion  in  two  great  masses,  one 
commanded  by  himself,  advancing  towards  Naumburg, 
the  other  attempting  in  like  manner  to  force  its  passage 
through  the  French  line  in  the  neighborhood  of  Jena. 
The  king's  march  was  arrested  at  Auerstadt  by  Davoust, 
who,  after  a  severely  contested  action,  at  length  repelled 
the  assailant.  Napoleon  himself,  meanwhile,  was  engaged 
with  the  other  great  body  of  the  Prussians. 

Arriving  on  the  evening  of  the  13th  of  October  at  Jena, 
he  at  once  perceived  that  the  enemy  was  ready  to  attempt 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  219 

the  advance  next  morning,  while  his  own  heavy  train 
was  still  thirty-six  hours'  march  in  his  rear.  ' '  But, ' ' 
as  the  Kmperor  said  in  his  bulletin  of  the  battle  fought 
next  day,  ' '  there  are  moments  in  war  when  no  consider- 
ation can  balance  the  advantage  of  being  before-hand 
with  the  enemy,  and  of  attacking  first." 

On  the  heights  from  Jena  to  Ivandgrafenberg  he  placed 
Gazan's  division  on  the  left,  in  the  right  Souchet's  divi- 
sion, and  in  the  centre  and  rear  the  foot  guard.  He  made 
the  latter  encamp  in  a  square  of  4000  men,  and  in  the 
centre  of  this  square  overlooking  the  plains  below,  he 
established  his  bivouac.  Ever  since  that  time  the  people 
have  called  that  height  "  Napoleonsberg,"  marking  by 
a  heap  of  rough  stones  the  spot  where  the  Kmperor  had 
spent  part  of  that  memorable  night. 

The  Kmperor  labored  hard,  torch  in  hand,  direct- 
ing and  encouraging  his  soldiery  to  cut  a  road  through  a 
ledge  of  rocks  and  draw  up  by  that  means  such  light 
guns  as  he  had  at  command  to  a  position  on  a  lofty 
plateau  in  front  of  Jena.  It  was  a  most  formidable  posi- 
tion, and  one  that  was  destined  to  prove  more  decisive 
than  that  of  a  much  larger  one  might  have  been  under 
other  circumstances.  Napoleon  spent  the  entire  night 
among  the  men,  helped  drag  the  guns  to  the  cliffs,  and 
offering  rewards  for  every  piece  of  cannon  that  should  be 
placed  on  the  heights.  He  reminded  his  followers  that 
the  Prussians  were  about  to  fight — not  for  honor,  but  for 
their  lives. 

"The  night,"  says  Napoleon,  "offered  a  spectacle 
worthy  of  observation  ;  that  of  the  two  armies,  one  of 
which  embraced  with  its  front  an  extent  of  six  leagues, 
and  peopled  the  atmosphere  with  its  fires,  the  other,  whose 

15 


220  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

apparent  fires  were  concentrated  in  a  small  point,  and  in 
both  encampments  activity  and  motion.  The  fires  of  the 
two  armies  were  within  half  cannon-shot ;  the  sentinels 
almost  touched  each  other,  and  not  a  movement  could  be 
made  without  being  heard. " 

At  about  5  o'clock  Napoleon  asked  Marshal  Soult, 
' '  Shall  we  beat  them  ?  ' ' 

"Yes,  if  they  are  there,"  answered  the  marshal;  "I 
am  only  afraid  they  have  left. ' ' 

At  that  moment  the  first  musketry  was  heard, 
"  There  they  are,"  said  the  Emperor  joyfully;  "there 
they  are  1.     The  business  is  beginning." 

Napoleon  then  rode  through  the  ranks  addressing  his 
soldiers.  He  bade  them  remember  that,  a  year  ago,  at  the 
same  period,  they  had  conquered  Ulm  and  recommended 
that  they  be  on  their  guard  against  the  Prussian  cavalry, 
which  had  been  represented  as  so  formidable.  ' '  This 
cavalry,"  he  said,  "must  be  destroyed  here,  before  our 
squares,  as  we  crushed  the  Russian  infantry  at  Auster- 
litz."  He  told  them  that  if  they  should  succeed  in 
endeavoring  to  fight  their  way  through  any  point,  the 
corps  that  would  suffer  them  to  pass,  must  forfeit  its 
honor  and  character. 

The  soldiers  answered  his  animated  discourse  by 
demanding  to  be  led  against  the  enemy  ;  and  the  cries  of, 
' '  Forward  !  I^et  us  march  ! ' '  were  heard  in  every 
direction. 

Again,  as  at  Austerlitz,  a  cloud  of  mist  completely 
enveloped  the  contending  hosts.  Both  armies  were  almost 
in  the  heat  of  battle  before  the  different  divisions  were 
distinguishable.  Augereau  commanded  the  right  wing, 
Soult  the  left,  Cannes  the  centre  and  Murat  the  reserve 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  221 

of  cavalry.  Escorted  by  men  carrying  torches,  Napoleon 
again  went  along  in  front  of  the  troops,  talking  to  the 
officers  and  soldiers.  He  exhorted  them  to  keep  on  their 
guard  against  the  Prussian  cavalry  and  to  receive  it  in 
square  with  their  usual  firmness.  His  words  everywhere 
drew  forth  shouts  of  "  Forward  !  Vive  1'  Bmpereur  !  " 
At  that  moment  the  corps  of  lyannes  set  itself  in  motion 
on  a  signal  from  JSTapoleon. 

The  battle  began  on  the  right  and  left  and  the  conflict 
proved  terrible.  Davoust,  in  particular,  was  placed  in  a 
situation  sufficient  to  try  a  man  of  the  most  determined 
courage  and  firmness  but  Bernadotte  refused  to  support 
him.  He  paraded  around  Apolda,  while  26,000  French 
troops  were  engaged  with  60,000  picked  men,  commanded 
by  the  Duke  of  Brunswick  and  the  King  of  Prussia.  Thus, 
says  General  Gourgaud,  he  caused  the  death  of  five  or  six 
thousand  Frenchmen  and  hazarded  the  success  of  the  day, 
for  which  he  experienced  a  very  short  disgrace.  Napo- 
leon on  this  occasion  observed  that  Bernadotte  did  not  be- 
have well,  and  that  he  would  have  felt  gratified  had  Davoust 
been  defeated  ;  "  but,"  added  the  Kmperor,  "the  affair 
reflects  the  highest  honor  on  the  conqueror,  and  the  more 
so,  as  Bernadotte  rendered  his  situation  a  most  difficult 
oUe."  Bernadotte' s  conduct  was  such  that  a  decree  was 
signed  by  Napoleon  that  must  have  resulted  in  his  being 
shot,  but  out  of  regard  to  his  wife  the  Kmperor  destroyed 
the  order  the  moment  he  was  about  to  put  it  into  the  hands 
of  one  of  his  officers. 

A  hand  to  hand  struggle  followed  the  first  charge  of 
the  Prussians.  It  was  received  by  Soult  and  was  a  doubt- 
ful engagement  until  Ney  appeared  with  a  fresh  division 
and  drove  the  Prussians  back.     Nothing  but  the  smoke 


222  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

of  battle  now  obstructed  tbe  view,  the  famous  sun  of  Na- 
poleon having  mounted  the  heavens  was  throwing  a 
flood  of  light  on  a  terrific  engagement.  Charge  after 
charge  followed,  both  sides  maintaining  their  positions 
with  firmness  and  valor.  The  commanders  were  con- 
stantly executing  manoeuvres  as  though  on  parade.  At 
one  time  the  Emperor  obser\^ed  Ney,  whom  he  had  sup- 
posed to  be  in  the  rear,  engaged  with  the  Prussians.  He 
hastened  up  greatly  displeased,  but  on  discovering  the 
brave  marshal  defending  himself  in  the  centre  of  two  weak 
squares  against  the  whole  of  the  Prussian  cavalry,  his 
displeasure  gave  way  to  admiration,  and  an  immediate 
relief  was  ordered  and  brought  up  by  Bertrand  and  Lan- 
nes.  During  the  time  that  elapsed  before  relief  arrived 
he  fought  as  intrepidly  as  before,  and  was  not  in  the  least 
disconcerted  by  his  hazardous  position.  Davoust's  plans 
were  so  well  laid,  and  his  generals  and  troops  displayed 
such  courage  and  skill,  that  Blucher,  with  12,000 cavalry, 
had  not  the  satisfaction  of  penetrating  through  a  single 
company.  The  king,  the  guards,  and  the  whole  army, 
attacked  the  French  without  obtaining  better  success. 
Amidst  the  deluge  of  fire  that  surrounded  them  on  all 
sides,  they  preserved  all  their  national  gaiety.  A  French 
soldier,  nick-named  ' '  the  Emperor  ' '  impatient  at  the  ob- 
stinacy of  the  Prussian  guards,  exclaimed,  "  On  with  me, 
grenadiers  !  Come,  follow  the.  Emperor  !  "  when,  rush- 
ing into  the  thickest  of  the  battle,  the  troops  followed, 
and  the  enemy  was  penetrated.  For  this  deed  he  was 
raised  to  the  rank  of  a  corporal. 

Napoleon,  field-glass  in  hand,  at  length  ordered  a  gen- 
eral onslaught  all  along  the  lines,  to  be  followed  by  a  bold 
charge  of  Murat's  cavalry  at  a  point  where  the  Emperor 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  223 

had  detected  a  weakness  in  the  enemy's  hnes.  As  the 
signal  blast  for  advancing  was  sounded,  the  eager  squad- 
rons that  had  been  smelling  the  smoke  of  battle  for  hours 
with  impatience,  rushed  onward  to  glory  or  to  death. 
On,  on  they  charged  with  all  the  vehemence  and  impet- 
uosity of  the  French  cavalryman,  each  of  whom  believed 
that  on  him,  and  him  alone,  rested  the  fate  of  the  day, 
and  as  on  so  many  similar  occasions,  they  were  victorious. 
The  sturdy  Prussian  columns  were  broken, — infantry, 
cavalry,  guards  and  grenadiers  were  mowed  down  by 
thousands.  The  French  infantry  gave  fresh  proof  of  their 
valor  and  sustained  their  reputation  at  this  engagement. 
In  one  of  the  charges  which  the  divisions  under  Morand 
had  to  sustain  from  the  numerous  Prussian  cavalry  under 
Prince  Henry,  the  1 7th  regiment,  before  presenting  arms, 
placed  their  caps  at  the  ends  of  their  bayonets,  crying, 
' '  Vive  r  Bmpereur  !  "  "  Why  not  fire  then  ?  ' '  exclaimed 
Colonel  lyanusse  who  apprehended  the  enemy  would  be 
upon  them  before  they  were  ready.  ' '  Oh,  time  enough 
for  that  "  they  replied,  "  at  fifteen  paces  you  shall  see." 
In  fact  a  murderous  discharge  at  that  distance  made  the 
Prussians  turn  their  horses'  heads  and  retire. 

The  ardor  of  the  troops  on  this  important  day  was  such 
that  some  corps,  which  circumstances  prevented  from 
taking  part  in  the  engagement,  loudly  expressed  their 
dissatisfaction.  One  of  these  traits  is  sufifiiciently  charac- 
teristic of  the  soldier  and  the  Emperor  under  whose  eyes 
they  fought.  At  an  early  period  of  the  conflict,  while 
the  French  cavalry  was  anxiously  expected,  Napoleon 
seeing  his  infantry  wings  in  a  state  of  agitation,  being 
threatened  by  the  enemy's  cavalry,  set  off  at  a  full  gallop  to 
direct  the  manoeuvres  and  change  the  front  into  squares. 


224  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  infantry  of  the  imperial  guard,  seeing  all  the  rest  of 
the  troops  engaged,  while  the  Emperor  left  them  in  inac- 
tion, many  voices  were  heard  to  cry  "Forward  !  "  "Who 
is  that  ? ' '  asked  the  Emperor  quickly,  as  he  presented 
himself  in  front  of  the  battalions ;  ' '  This  is  some  beard- 
less young  man,  who  wishes  to  anticipate  what  I  intend 
to  do.  lyct  him  wait  until  he  has  commanded  in  thirty 
pitched  battles,  before  he  pretends  to  give  me  advice." 

Out  of  the  70,000  Prussians  who  had  appeared  on  the 
field  of  battle,  not  a  single  corps  remained  entire,  not  one 
retreated  in  order.  Out  of  the  100,000  French,  composed 
of  the  corps  of  Marshals  Soult,  I^annes,  Augereau,  Ney, 
Murat  and  the  Guard,  not  more  than  50,000  had  fought, 
and  they  had  been  sufficient  to  overthrow  the  Prussian 
army. 

This  rout  ended  in  the  complete  breaking  up  of  the 
Prussian  army,  horse  and  foot  all  flying  together,  in  the 
confusion  of  panic,  upon  the  road  to  Weimar.  At  that 
point  the  fugitives  met  and  mingled  with  their  brethren, 
flying  as  confusedly  as  themselves,  from  Auerstadt, 

In  his  account  of  the  battle  of  Jena  Napoleon  spoke 
with  pleasure  of  the  enthusiasm  shown  by  his  soldiers 
during  the  heat  of  battle.  In  conclusion  he  said  :  "In 
so  warm  a  fight,  in  which  the  enemy  lost  almost  all  their 
generals,  we  should  thank  that  Providence  which  watched 
over  our  army,  that  no  man  of  note  has  been  killed  or 
wounded.  Marshal  Lannes  had  his  breast  scratched  with- 
out being  wounded.  Marshal  Davoust  had  his  hat  carried 
away  and  a  great  number  of  balls  in  his  clothes. ' '  To 
Josephine,  who  was  awaiting  the  results  of  the  campaign 
at  Mayence,  he  wrote  on  October  i6th:  "Everything 
has  turned  out  as  I  planned,  and  never  was  an  army  more 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  225 

thoroughly  beaten  and  destroyed. ' '  The  Emperor  con- 
fessed, that,  during  the  night  before  the  battle  of  Jena,  he 
had  been  exposed  to  the  most  imminent  danger,  and  might 
have  disappeared  without  anyone  knowing  clearly  his  fate. 
He  had  approached  the  bivouacs  of  the  Prussians  in  the 
dark,  to  reconnoitre,  having  only  a  few  officers  about  his 
person.  The  French  army  was  almost  everywhere  on  the 
alert,  under  a  persuasion  that  the  Prussians  were  strongly 
addicted  to  nocturnal  attacks.  Returning  from  that  sur- 
vey, the  Emperor  was  fired  at  by  the  first  sentinel  of  his 
own  camp,  which  proved  a  signal  for  the  whole  line  ;  and 
he  had  no  resource  left  but  to  throw  himself  flat  on  his 
face  until  the  mistake  should  be  discovered.  His  prin- 
cipal apprehension,  however,  was  not  realized  ;  he  feared 
least  the  Prussian  line,  then  very  near  him,  might  act  in 
the  same  manner. 

When  the  conflict  ended  20,000  Prussians  lay  dead  on 
the  battle  field,  or  were  taken  prisoners,  including  twenty 
generals.  Among  the  trophies  of  war  were  300  cannon 
and  sixty  royal  standards. 

The  Queen  of  Prussia  was  a  fearless  horsewoman  and 
had  faced  great  dangers  at  Jena.  When  she  rode  before 
her  troops  in  her  helmet  of  polished  steel,  shaded  by  a 
plume,  in  her  glittering  golden  cuirass,  her  tunic  of  silver 
Stuff,  her  red  boots  with  gold  spurs,  she  resembled  Tasso's 
heroines.  The  soldiers  burst  into  cries  of  enthusiasm  as 
they  saw  their  warlike  queen  :  before  her  were  bowed  the 
flags  she  had  embroidered  with  her  own  hands  and  the 
old,  torn,  and  battle-stained  standards  of  Frederick  the 
Great.  After  the  battle  she  was  obliged  to  take  flight, 
at  full  gallop,  to  avoid  being  captured  by  the  French 
hussars. 


226  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Duke  of  Brunswick,  who  had  contended  with 
Napoleon  in  this  memorable  engagement,  was  wounded 
in  the  face  with  a  grape-shot  early  in  the  battle  and  was 
carried  off  the  field  never  to  recover. 

The  various  routed  divisions  roamed  about  the  country 
seeking  separately  a  means  of  escape,  and  fell  an  easy 
prey  to  the  French.  The  Prince  of  Hohenlohe  at  length 
drew  together  not  less  than  .50,000  of  these  wandering 
soldiers  and  threw  himself  at  their  head  into  Madgeburg, 
but  that  great  fortress  had  been  stripped  of  all  its  stores 
for  the  service  of  the  Duke  of  Brunswick's  army  before 
Jena,  and  Hohenlohe  was  compelled  to  retreat.  He  was 
defeated  in  a  number  of  skirmishes,  and  at  length,  find- 
ing himself  devoid  of  ammunition  or  provisions,  laid  down 
his  arms.  The  Duke  of  Wurtemburg,  one  of  the  Prussian 
generals,  had  taken  a  position  at  Halle  and  Bernadotte 
marched  upon  him.  He  attacked  the  enemy  with  the 
bayonet,  killing  and  routing  all  who  dared  oppose  him. 
The  slaughter  was  dreadful  and  Napoleon,  visiting  the 
field  of  battle  the  ensuing  day,  was  struck  with  the  sight 
of  the  heaps  of  dead  surrounding  the  bodies  of  the  French 
soldiers.  Observing  on  the  uniforms  some  of  the  buttons 
of  the  32d,  he  said  with  a  sigh,  ' '  So  many  of  that  regi- 
ment were  killed  in  Italy,  Egypt,  and  elsewhere,  I 
thougi     rone  could  be  remaining. " 

C  .aeral  Blucher  was  shortly  afterwards  compelled  to 
lay  down  his  arms  after  a  loss  of  4,000  men  out  of  10,000 
at  Lubeck,  where  a  severe  action  was  fought  in  the  streets 
of  the  town  on  the  6th  of  November.  The  fortresses  of 
the  Prussian  monarch  now  capitulated  as  fast  as  their 
commanders  were  requested  to  do  so,  and  Napoleon 
entered  Berlin  in  triumph  on  the  25th  of  October.     The 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  227 

honor  of  taking  possession  of  that  city  Napoleon  reserved 
for  Davoust's  corps,  which  had  contributed  so  much  to 
the  victory  at  Jena. 

The  Prussians  could  not  comprehend  the  rapid  marches 
and  the  promptitude  with  which  they  were  met  in  their 
flights.  As  the  Emperor  said  in  his  14th  bulletin : 
' '  These  gentry  are  doubtless  accustomed  to  the  manoeu- 
vres of  the  '  Seven  Years'  War. '  They  would  demand 
three  days  to  bury  their  dead.  '  Think  of  the  living ' 
replied  the  Emperor,  *  and  leave  the  care  of  interring  the 
dead  to  us  ;  there  is  no  need  of  a  truce  for  that. '  ' ' 

Thus  in  a  campaign  of  a  week's  duration  had  the  proud 
Prussian  monarchy  been  leveled  to  the  ground.  The 
people,  believing  that  the  fall  of  the  military  meant  neces- 
sarily the  fall  of  the  monarchy  itself,  the  pride  and 
strength  of  the  nation  disappeared  and  every  bond  of  union 
among  the  various  provinces  of  the  crown  seemed  to  be 
at  once  dissolved. 

On  the  25th  of  October,  1806,  after  passing  in  review 
the  Imperial  foot  guards,  commanded  by  Lefebvre,  Napo- 
leon visited  the  tomb  of  Frederick  the  Great  at  Potsdam 
where  were  stored  a  number  of  mementos  of  the  great 
warrior.  The  court  of  Prussia  had  fled  with  so  much 
precipitancy  from  Potsdam,  that  nothing  had  been  carried 
away.  Even  the  sword  of  Frederick  the  Great',^^  lue  belt 
and  the  cordon  of  his  orders,  were  left  there. 

On  finding  that  the  court  had  not  thought  of  placing 
these  relics  out  of  the  reach  of  invasion,  the  Emperor  took 
possession  of  them.  As  he  displayed  the  sword  of  Fred- 
erick, he  said  :  "I  prefer  these  trophies  to  all  the  King 
of  Prussia's  treasures.  I  will  send  them  to  my  veterans 
who  served  in  the  campaigns  of  Hanover.     I  will  present 


228  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

them  to  the  Governor  of  the  Hospital  of  the  Invalides,  who 
will  preserve  them  as  a  testimony  of  the  victories  of  the 
army,  and  the  revenge  it  has  taken  for  the  disasters  of 
Rosbach. ' ' 

"  The  door  of  the  monument  was  open,"  says  General 
Segur;  "  Napoleon  paused  at  the  entrance  in  a  grave 
and  respectful  attitude.  He  gazed  into  the  shadow  enclos- 
ing the  hero's  ashes,  and  stood  thus  for  nearly  ten  min- 
utes motionless,  silent,  as  if  buried  in  deep  thought.  There 
were  five  or  six  of  us  with  him  :  Duroc,  Caulaincourt, 
an  aide-de-camp  and  I.  We  gazed  at  this  solemn  and 
extraordinary  scene,  imagining  the  two  great  men  face  to 
face,  identifying  ourselves  with  the  thoughts  we  ascribed 
to  our  Bmperor  before  that  other  genius  whose  glory  sur- 
vived the  overthrow  of  his  work,  who  was  as  great  in 
extreme  adversity  as  in  success." 

During  his  stay  at  Berlin  Napoleon  issued  the  famous 
' '  Berlin  Decrees ' '  by  which  he  attempted  to  establish  the 
"continental  system,"  whose  object  was  to  shut  out  the 
commerce  and  intercourse  of  Great  Britain  from  the  Con- 
tinent of  Europe.  The  ruin  of  France's  maritime  power 
at  Trafalgar,  and  the  almost  universal  supremacy  of  the 
French  Empire  on  land  left  Napoleon  in  his  own  judg- 
ment, no  other  means  of  retaliation.  Through  this  con- 
tinental system  he  endeavored,  for  several  years,  to 
annihilate  all  commercial  intercourse  between  the  conti- 
nent and  England. 

The  Prince  of  Hatzfeld  was  detected,  during  Napoleon's 
stay  at  Berlin,  in  sending  secret  information  of  the  state 
and  movements  of  the  French  army  to  the  enemy.  One 
of  his  letters  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  French  and  he  was 
arrested.     His  wife  gained  access  to  Napoleon's  apart- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  229 

ments,  and,  ignorant  of  her  husband's  conduct,  spoke 
with  the  boldness  of  innocence  in  his  favor.  On  being 
handed  the  letter  written  by  her  husband  she  was  com- 
pletely overcome  and  fell  on  her  knees  before  the  Bmperor, 
imploring  his  forgiveness.  ' '  Throw  that  paper  into  the 
fire,  madam,"  said  Napoleon,  "and  the  military  com- 
mission will  then  have  no  proof  of  his  guilt. ' ' 

With  a  cry  of  joy  the  princess  did  as  she  was  directed 
and  the  order  of  arrest,  which  would  have  resulted  in  Hatz- 
feld's  death  in  an  hour,  was  recalled. 

While  at  Berlin  the  Emperor  addressed  his  troops  in  a 
proclamation  in  which  he  said  :  ' '  Our  entrance  into 
Potsdam  and  Berlin  had  been  preceded  by  the  fame  of 
our  victories.  We  have  made  60,000  prisoners,  taken 
sixty-five  standards,  among  which  are  the  colors  of  the 
King  of  Prussia's  guards,  six  hundred  pieces  of  cannon, 
and  three  fortresses.  Among  the  prisoners  there  are 
upwards  of  twenty  generals;  yet,  notwithstanding  all  this, 
more  than  half  our  troops  regret  their  not  having  fired  a 
single  shot  *  *  *  Soldiers,  the  Russians  boast  of  com- 
ing to  meet  us,  but  we  will  advance  to  encounter,  and 
save  them  half  their  march ;  they  shall  meet  another 
Austerlitz  in  the  heart  of  Prussia.  A  nation  that  can  so 
soon  forget  our  generous  treatment  after  that  battle, -owed 
their  safety  only  to  the  capitulation  we  granted  them,— is  a 
power  that  cannot  successfully  contend  against  us.  We 
will  not  again  be  the  dupes  of  a  treacherous  peace." 

Before  leaving  Berlin  Napoleon  received  a  deputation  of 
the  Senate,  sent  from  Paris  to  congratulate  him  on  the 
success  of  his  campaign.  Accompanied  by  representatives 
from  the  army,  he  made  them  the  bearer  of  the  trophies 
of  his  recent  victories.     He  then  prepared  to  extinguish 


230  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

whatever  resistance  existed  in  a  few  garrisons  of  the  Prus- 
sian monarchy  and  to  meet,  before  they  could  reach  the 
soil  of  Germany,  those  Russians  who  were  now  advancing, 
too  late,  to  the  assistance  of  Frederic  William. 


VII 

THE  BATTI.E  OF  KYI.AU 

Before  opening  the  great  campaign  with  Russia  Napo- 
leon received  the  explanation  of  the  Elector  of  Saxony, 
who  truly  stated  that  Prussia  had  forced  him  to  take  part 
in  the  war.  The  apology  was  accepted,  and  from  this 
time  the  Elector  adhered  to  the  league  of  the  Rhine  and 
was  a  faithful  ally  of  Napoleon.  On  November  25th,  1806, 
the  Emperor  of  France  left  Berlin  and  established  himself 
on  the  27th  at  Posen,  a  central  town  of  Poland,  which 
country  began  to  manifest  an  agitation  arising  from  the 
animating  prospect  of  restored  independence.  The 
unfortunate  but  brave  Poles  entreated  his  aid  ;  but  Napo- 
leon could  not  make  them  a  positive  promise  of  their 
restoration  as  a  kingdom.  His  observation  on  the  subject 
was,  "  that,  if  the  match  should  once  be  lighted,  there  was 
no  knowing  how  long  it  might  continue  to  burn." 

From  the  headquarters  at  Posen,  Napoleon  addressed 
his  soldiers  on  December  2nd,  saying  :  "  It  is  a  year 
ago  to-day,  at   this   very  hour,   that  you  were   on     the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  231 

battlefield  of  Austerlitz.  The  dismayed  Russian  battal- 
ions fled  in  disorder,  or,  surrounded,  gave  up  their  arms 
to  their  victors.  The  next  day  they  sued  for  peace,  but 
we  were  imposed  on  :  scarcely  escaped  by  our,  perhaps, 
overweening  generosity,  from  the  disasters  of  a  third  coaU- 
tion,  they  ventured  upon  a  fourth  .  .  .  Soldiers,  we 
will  not  lay  down  our  arms  until  the  general  peace  shall 
have  fixed  and  assured  the  power  of  our  allies  and  restored 
to  our  commerce  its  safety  and  its  colonies."  The  pro- 
clamation produced  an  exhilarating  effect  on  the  soldiers 
and  throughout  Germany. 

In  the  meantime  Warsaw  was  put  in  a  state  of  defense, 
and  the  auxiliary  forces  of  Saxony  and  the  new  confed- 
erates of  the  Rhine  were  brought  up  by  forced  marches, 
while  strong  reinforcements  from  France  repaired  the 
losses  of  the  early  part  of  the  campaign. 

The  French  army  at  length  advanced  in  full  force  and 
crossed  successively  the  rivers  Vistula,  the  Narew  and  Bug, 
forcing  a  passage  wherever  it  was  disputed,  the  Russian 
detachments  being  repulsed  as  often  as  they  presented  them- 
selves. But  it  was  not  the  intention  of  Benningsen,  the 
Russian  general,  to  give  battle  to  forces  superior  to  | his 
own,  and  he  therefore  retreated  behind  the  Wkra.  On 
the  23rd  of  December  Napoleon  arrived  in  person  upon 
the  Wkra  and  ordered  the  advance  of  his  army  in  three 
divisions.  He  was  fully  aware  that  he  was  approaching 
a  conflict  of  a  very  different  kind  from  that  which  he  had 
maintained  with  Austria,  and  more  lately  against  Prussia. 
These  troops,  however  highly  disciplined,  wanted  that 
powerful  and  individual  feeling  which  was  a  strong  char- 
acteristic of  the  Russians, — a  feeling  that  induces  the  sol- 
dier to  resist  to  the  last  moment,  even  when  resistance  can 


232  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

only  assure  Mm  of  revenge.  They  were,  in  fact,  those  same 
Russians  of  whom  Frederick  the  Great  said,  ' '  that  he 
could  kill,  but  could  not  defeat  them."  They  were  also 
of  strong  constitution  and  inured  to  the  iron  climate  in 
which  Frenchmen  were  now  fighting  for  the  first  time. 
The  Cossacks  are  trained  from  early  childhood  to  the  use 
of  the  lance  and  sword,  and  familiarized  to  a  horse  peculiar 
to  the  country, — tractable,  hardy,  swift  and  sure-footed, 
beyond  any  breed  perhaps  in  the  world.  On  the  actual 
field  of  battle  the  Cossack's  mode  of  attack  is  singular; 
instead  of  acting  iu  line,  a  body  of  them  about  to  charge 
disperse  at  the  word  of  command,  and  joining  in  a  loud 
yell  and  hurrah,  each  acting  individually  upon  the  object 
of  attack,  whether  infantry,  cavalry  or  artillery,  to  all  of 
which  they  have  been  in  this  wild  way  of  fighting  most 
formidable  assailants 

In  this  campaign  the  Cossacks  took  the  field  in  great 
numbers,  under  their  celebrated  hetman  Platoff .  The  Rus- 
sians also  had  in  their  service  Tartar  tribes  who  resemble 
the  Cossacks  in  warfare ;  but  they  were  little  better  than 
hordes  of  roving  savages.  On  the  plain  between  the  town 
of  Pultusk  and  the  wood  the  right  of  the  Russian  position 
was  formed,  and  on  December  26th  they  were  attacked 
by  the  French  division  of  lyannes  and  Davoust  with  but 
partial  success.  The  French  lost  nearly  8,000  men,  killed 
and  wounded,  while  the  Russian  loss  amounted  to  about 
5,000.  The  French  retreated  after  nightfall.  On  the 
same  day  another  division  engaged  in  action  at  Golymin, 
driving  back  the  French  after  which  the  Russian  com- 
mander retreated  for  the  purpose  of  concentrating  his 
forces  with  the  Grand  Army.  Both  engagements  were 
without  immediate  results,   and  instead  of  pressing  their 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  233 

operations,  the  French  retreated  into  winter  quarters,  Napo- 
leon withdrawing  his  guard]as  far  as  Warsaw,  while  the' 
other  divisions  were  cantoned  in  the  towns  to  the  eastward. 

Benningsen  was  now  placed  in  supreme  command  of 
the  Russian  forces,  amounting  to  90,000  men,  and  he  at 
once  resolved  not  to  wait  for  Napoleon's  onset,  but  chose 
rather  to  anticipate  him,  wisely  concluding  that  his  enemy's 
desire  of  desisting  from  active  operation,  as  evinced  by 
cantoning  his  troops  in  winter  quarters,  ought  to  be  a 
signal  to  the  Russians  to  again  take  the  field.  Thus  the 
French  Kmperor  found  himself  forced  into  a  winter  cam- 
paign, and  he  at  once  issued  general  orders  for  drawing  out 
his  forces  for  the  purpose  of  concentrating  them  at  Willen- 
berg,in  the  rear  of  the  Russians,  who  were  then  stationed  at 
Mohringen.  The  duration  of  the  winter  quarters,  in  which 
the  French  troops  had  been  placed,  lasted  no  longer  than 
the  weather  would  permit.  The  army  reposed  almost 
the  whole  of  the  month  of  December,  and  towards  the 
beginning  of  January  1807,  movements  on  both  sides 
seemed  to  indicate  more  serious  operations.  It  appeared 
the  Russians  had  adopted  a  vast  plan  of  defense.  Their 
generals  seemed  to  have  regained  confidence,  on  seeing 
Napoleon  stop  amidst  the  advantages  he  had  acquired,  and 
imputed  that  to  fear  which  arose  in  him  from  motives  of 
prudence.  They  could  not  imagine  what  other  reason  he 
could  possibly  have  for  going  into  cantonments  upon  the 
Vistula. 

Napoleon  now  proposed  to  force  his  enemies  eastward 
towards  the  Vistula,  as  at  Jena  he  had  compelled  the 
Prussians  to  fight  with  their  rear  turned  to  the  Rhine. 
Bernadotte  had  orders  to  engage  the  attention  of  Bennig- 
sen  upon  the  right,  and  detain  him  in  his  present  situation; 


234  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

or  rather,  if  possible,    to   induce   him   to  advance  east- 
"  ward  so  as  to  facilitate  the  operations  he  meditated. 

The  Russian  commander  learned  Bonaparte's  intention 
from  an  intercepted  dispatch,  and  changed  his  purpose  of 
advancing  on  Ney  and  Bernadotte.  Marches  and  counter- 
marches took  place,  through  a  country  at  all  times  difficult, 
and  now  covered  with  snow.  Bennigsen  was  aware  that  it 
was  to  his  advantage  to  protract  the  campaign  in  this 
manner,  as  he  was  near  his  reinforcements,  and  the  French 
were  distant  from  theirs: — every  loss  therefore  telling  more 
in  proportion  to  the  enemy  than  to  his  own  army. 

Notwithstanding  this  apparent  advantage,  the  distress 
of  the  Russian  army  was  so  extreme  from  the  lack  of  suit- 
able provisions  that  it  induced  General  Bennigsen,  against 
his  judgment,  to  give  battle  at  all  risks,  and  for  this  pur- 
pose to  concentrate  his  forces  at  Preuss-Bylau,  which  was 
decided  upon  as  the  field  which  he  proposed  to  contest 
with  Napoleon. 

It  had  been  the  intention  to  maintain  the  town  itself 
which  Bennigsen  had  entered  on  the  yth  of  February,  and 
a  body  of  troops  had  been  left  for  that  purpose  ;  but  in 
the  confusion  attending  the  movement  of  so  large  an  army, 
the  orders  had  been  misunderstood,  and  the  division 
designed  for  this  service  evacuated  the  place  as  soon  as 
the  rear-guard  had  passed  through  it.  A  Russian  division 
was  hastily  ordered  to  re-occupy  the  town;  but  they  found 
the  French  already  in  possession,  and  although  they  dis- 
lodged them,  they  were  themselves  driven  out  in  turn  by 
another  division  of  French  to  whom  Napoleon  had  prom- 
ised unusual  rewards.  A  third  division  of  Russians  now 
advanced,  Bennigsen  being  desirous  of  protracting  the 
contest  for  the  town  until  the  arrival  of  his  heavy  artillery 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  235 

which  joined  him  by  a  different  route.  When  it  came  up 
he  would  have  discontinued  the  struggle  for  Kylau  but  it 
was  impossible  to  control  the  ardor  of  the  Russian  columns 
who  persevered  in  advancing,  with  drums  beating,  rushed 
into  the  town  and  surprised  the  French  in  the  act  of  sack- 
ing it, — ^putting  many  of  them  to  death  by  the  bayonet. 

Another  division  of  the  French  now  advanced  under 
cover  of  the  hillocks  and  broken  ground  which  skirt  the 
village,  threw  their  fire  upon  the  streets  and  the  Russians 
once  more  retreated  with  considerable  loss.  The  town 
was  now  once  more  and  finally  occupied  by  the  French. 
Night  fell  and  the  combat  ceased  only  to  be  renewed  with 
increased  fury  the  next  day. 

The  Russians  occupied  a  space  of  uneven  ground,  about 
two  miles  in  length  and  a  mile  in  depth,  with  the  village 
of  Serpallen  on  their  left.  In  the  front  of  their  army  lay 
the  town  of  Preuss-Eylau,  situated  in  a  hollow  and  in  pos- 
session of  the  French.  The  latter  occupied  Eylau  with 
their  left,  while  their  centre  and  right  lay  parallel  to  the 
Russians,  upon  a  chain  of  heights  which  commanded,  in 
a  great  measure,  the  ground  possessed  by  the  enemy. 
The  French  also  expected  to  be  reinforced  by  Ney's  divi- 
sion which  had  not  yet  come  up,  and  which  was  destined 
to'  form  on  the  extreme  left.  The  space  between  the 
hostile  armies  was  open  and  flat,  covered  with  snow  and 
intersected  with  frozen  lakes.  The  soldiers  could  trace 
each  other's  positions  by  the  pale  glimmer  of  watch  lights 
upon  the  snow. 

Napoleon,  who  slept  but  three  or  four  hours  that  night 
in  a  chair  in  the  postmaster's  house,  placed  the  corps 
of  Marshal  Soult  at  Eylau  itself,  partly  within  the  town, 
partly  on  the  right  and  left  of  it,   Augereau's  corps  and 

16 


236  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

the  Imperial  Guard  a  little  in  the  rear,  and  all  the  cavalry 
upon  the  wings  till  daylight  should  enable  him  to  make 
his  final  disposition  of  the  fifty  odd  thousand  men,  exclu- 
sive of  Ney's  corps,  and  which  were  to  meet  the  ninety 
thousand  Russians  and  Prussians. 

At  daybreak  on  the  8th  of  February,  1807,  two  strong 
columns  of  the  French  advanced  for  the  purpose  of  turn- 
ing the  right  and  storming  the  centre  of  the  Russians,  who 
had  commenced  the  firing  at  one  and  the  same  time; 
but  they  were  driven  back  in  great  disorder  by  the  heavy 
and  sustained  fire  of  the  Russian  artillery.  An  attack  on 
the  enemy's  left  was  equally  unsuccessful.  The  Russian 
infantry  stood  like  stone  ramparts,  each  time  repulsing  the 
French  assault — their  cavalry  then  came  to  the  support, 
pursued  the  retiring  assailants  and  took  standards  and 
eagles. 

About  mid-day  a  heavy  snowstorm  set  in,  which 
the  wind  drove  right  in  the  faces  of  the  Russians,  adding 
to  the  obscurity  caused  by  the  smoke  of  the  burning  vil- 
lage of  Serpallen  that  rolled  along  the  line.  The  snow 
having  now  ceased,  a  melancholy  spectacle  presented 
itself.  Thousands  of  dead  and  wounded  lay  on  the  ground, 
and  several  of  the  divisions  were  still  hors  de  combat. 
Augereau's  two  divisions  had  been  swept  down  by  an 
unmasked  battery  of  seventy-two  pieces,  and  Augereau, 
wounded  himself,  but  more  affected  by  the  disaster  of  his 
corps  than  by  his  personal  danger,  was  carried  to  the 
cemetery  of  Eylau  to  the  feet  of  Napoleon.  To  the  Empe- 
ror he  complained,  not  without  bitterness,  of  the  failure  to 
send  him  timely  succor.  Silent  grief  pervaded  every  face 
in  the  imperial  staff.  Napoleon,  calm  and  firm,  addressed 
a  few  soothing  words  to  Augereau,  then  sent  him  to  the 
rear,  and  took  measures  for  repairing  the  mischief. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  237 

Dispatching  in  the  first  place  the  chasseurs  of  the  Guard 
and  some  squadrons  of  dragoons  which  were  at  hand,  he 
sent  for  Murat  and  ordered  him  to  make  a  decisive  effort 
on  the  Hne  of  the  infantry  which  formed  the  centre  of  the 
Russian  army,  and  which,  taking  advantage  of  Augereau's 
disaster  began  to  press  forward.  At  the  first  summons 
Murat  came  up  at  a  gallop:  "Well,"  said  Napoleon, 
' '  are  you  going  to  let  those  fellows  eat  us  up  ?"  He  then 
ordered  the  heroic  chief  of  his  cavalry  to  collect  the  chas- 
seurs, the  dragoons,  the  cuirassiers,  and  to  fall  upon  the 
Russians  with  eighty  squadrons,  to  see  what  effect  such  a 
mass  of  horse,  charging  furiously,  would  have  on  an  in- 
fantry reputed  not  to  be  shaken.  The  cavalry  of  the 
Guard  was  brought  forward  ready  to  add  its  shock  to  that 
of  the  cavalry  of  the  army. 

The  moment  was  critical,  for  if  the  Russian  infantry 
were  not  stopped  it  would  soon  attack  the  cemetery,  the 
centre  of  the  French  position,  and  Napoleon  had  but  six 
foot  battalions  of  the  Imperial  Guard  to  defend  it.  Murat 
galloped  off,  collected  his  squadrons,  made  them  pass 
between  the  cemetery  and  Rothenen  where  Augereau's 
corps  had  marched  to  almost  certain  destruction.  Charge 
after  charge  was  made  and  successfully  resisted.  At 
length  one  of  them,  rushing  on  with  more  violence,  broke 
the  enemy's  infantry  at  one  point  and  opened  the  breach 
through  which  cuirassiers  and  dragoons  rushed,  each  eager 
to  penetrate  first.  The  Russians'  first  and  second  lines 
being  broken,  they  turned  the  batteries  of  their  artillery 
on  the  confused  mass,  killing  as  many  of  their  own  sol- 
diers as  those  of  the  French,  not  caring  whether  they 
killed  friends  or  foes  so  that  they  got  rid  of  the  formidable 
French  force;  but  their  efforts  were  useless. 


238  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Napoleon,  graver  than  usual,  in  a  gray  riding-coat  and 
Polish  cap,  sat  motionless  in  the  cemetery,  in  which  were 
heaped  bodies  of  a  great  number  of  his  officers  ;  his  Guard 
was  behind  him  and  before  him  the  chasseurs,  the 
dragoons,  the  cuirassiers  ;  they  formed  anew  and  were 
ready  to  devote  themselves  as  he  might  direct.  The 
Emperor  waited  long  before  determining  definitely  on 
his  last  attack.  Never  had  he  nor  his  soldiers  been  engaged 
in  such  a  hotly  contested  fight.  The  bullets  whistled  around 
and  a  shell  burst  within  a  few  paces  of  him.  Auge- 
reau's  arm  was  broken  and  lyannes  was  wounded  but  not 
severely. 

Under  cover  of  darkness  six  columns  of  the  French  now 
advanced  with  artillery  and  cavalry  and  were  close  on  the 
Russian  position  ere  they  were  opposed.  Bennigsen,  at 
the  head  of  his  staff,  brought  up  the  reserve  in  position, 
and,  on  uniting  with  the  first  line  bore  the  French  back 
at  the  point  of  the  bayonet.  Their  columns,  partly  broken, 
were  driven  again  to  their  own  position  where  they  rallied 
with  difficulty.  A  French  regiment  of  cuirassiers,  which 
during  this  part  of  the  action  had  made  an  opening  in  the 
Russian  line,  were  charged  by  the  Cossacks,  and  found 
their  defensive  armor  no  protection  against  the  lance.  All 
but  eighteen  were  slain. 

At  the  moment  when  the  Russians  appeared  to  be  the 
victors  Davoust's  division,  which  had  been  manoeuvring 
since  the  beginning  of  the  action  to  turn  the  left  and  gain 
the  rear  of  the  Russian  line,  now  made  its  appearance 
on  the  field.  The  effect  was  sudden  and  demoralizing  to 
the  Russians  ;  Serpallen  was  lost,  the  Russian  left  wing, 
and  a  portion  of  its  centre  were  thrown  into  disorder, 
and  forced  to  retire  and  change  front. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  239 

At  this  point  in  the  contest  the  Prussian  reinforce- 
ments, long  expected,  appeared  in  turn  suddenly  on  the 
field,  and  passing  the  left  of  the  French  and  right  of  the 
Russians,  pushed  down  in  three  columns  to  redeem  the 
battle  on  the  Russian  centre  and  rear.  The  Prussians, 
under  their  gallant  leader  L,'  Bstocq,  never  fired  until 
within  a  few  paces  of  the  enemy  and  then  used  the  bay- 
onet with  fearful  effect.  They  redeemed  the  ground 
which  the  Russians  had  lost  and  drove  back  in  their  turn 
the  troops  of  Davoust  and  Bernadotte  who  had  lately  been 
victorious.  Ney,in  the  meantime  appeared  on  the  field 
with  his  advanced  guard  and  occupied  Schnaditten,  a  vil- 
lage on  the  road  to  Konigsberg.  As  this  endangered  the 
communication  of  the  Russians  with  that  town,  it  was 
thought  necessary  to  carry  it  by  storm  ;  a  resolution  which 
was  successfully  executed,  the  enemy's  rear-guard  retreat- 
ing in  disorder. 

This  was  the  last  act  of  that  bloody  day  at  Eylau.  It 
was  ten  o'  clock  at  night  and  darkness  put  an  end  to  the 
combat.  After  fourteen  hours  of  fighting  both  armies 
occupied  the  same  positions  taken  in  the  morning.  It  was 
in  fact  the  longest  and  by  far  the  severest  battle  Napoleon 
had  yet  been  engaged  in.  At  the  beginning  of  the  con- 
test, Augereau  was  scarcely  in  his  senses,  from  the  severity 
of  rheumatic  pain  to  which  he  was  subject ;  but  the  sound 
of  the  cannon  awakens  the  brave  :  he  flew  at  full  gallop 
at  the  head  of  his  corps,  after  causing  himself  to  be  tied 
to  his  horse  !  He  was  constantly  exposed  to  the  hottest 
of  the  fire,  and  was  only  slightly  wounded. 

A  few  days  after  the  battle  Napoleon  sent  to  Paris 
sixteen  stands  of  colors  taken  on  that  occasion  and  ordered 
the  cannon  to  be  melted  down  and  made  into  a  statue  of 


240  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

General  d'  Haulpoult,  in  the  uniform  of  his  regiment, 
he  having  gallantly  commanded  the  second  division  of 
cuirassiers,  when  he  was  killed  in  the  action. 

In  three  letters  which  the  Emperor  wrote  to  Josephine 
during  the  month  of  February  he  alluded  with  the  deep- 
est affection  to  the  horrors  of  this  engagement.  ' '  We  had 
yesterday,"  he  said,  "a  great  battle.  The  victory  was 
mine,  but  I  have  been  deprived  of  a  great  many  men. 
The  loss  of  the  enemy,  still  more  considerable,  does  not 
console  me. "  "  The  land  is  covered  with  dead  and 
wounded,"  he  adds  in  a  second  letter;  "This  is  not 
the  noble  portion  of  war.  One  is  pained,  and  the  soul  is 
oppressed  at  the  sight  of  so  many  victims. ' ' 

In  the  biting  frost,  in  face  oi  thousands  of  dead  and  dying, 
when  the  gloomy  day  was  sinking  into  a  night  of  anguish, 
the  Emperor  had  said  :  ' '  This  sight  is  one  to  fill  rulers 
with  a  love  of  peace  and  a  horror  of  war,"  and  in  his 
bulletin  of  the  engagement  he  said  :  ' '  Imagine,  on  a 
space  of  a  league  square,  nine  or  ten  thousand  corpses, 
four  or  five  thousand  dead  horses,  lines  of  Russian  knap- 
sacks, fragments  of  guns  and  sabres  ;  the  earth  covered 
with  bullets,  shells,  supplies  ;  tw^enty-four  cannon,  sur- 
rounded by  their  artillerymen,  slain  just  as  they  were 
trying  to  take  their  guns  away  ;  and  all  that  in  plainest 
relief  on  the  stretch  of  snow  ! ' ' 

Twelve  of  Napoleon's  eagles  were  in  the  hands  of  the 
Russians,  and  the  field  between  them  was  covered  with 
50,000  corpses,  of  whom  at  least  half  were  French.  Each 
leader  claimed  the  victory.  The  Russians  retired  from 
Eylau  towards  Konigsberg  the  very  night  after  the  battle, 
and  the  French  made  no  effort  to  pursue  but  remained  on 
the  field  nine  days  to  allow  the  troops  some  repose. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  241 

It  was  in  truth  a  drawn  battle.  The  point  of  superiority 
on  this  dreadful  day  would  have  been  hard  to  decide,  but 
the  victory,  if  rightly  claimed  by  either  party,  must  be  pro- 
nounced to  have  remained  with  Napoleon  ;  for  Bennigsen 
retreated  and  left  him  master  of  the  field  of  battle  where  he 
slept  and  remained  for  days  ;  but  it  was  a  ghastly  triumph. 
During  the  whole  time  the  contest  lasted  Napoleon's  count- 
enance was  ncA^er  observed  to  change  ;  nor  did  he  show 
any  emotion  whatever  ;  but  all  accounts  agree  that  he  was 
deeply  impressed  with  the  horrors  of  the  succeeding 
night. 

Finally ,  on  the  19th  of  February,  Napoleon  left  By lau 
and  retreated  with  his  whole  army  to  Osterode  on  the 
Vistula.  Here  he  established  his  headquarters,  living  in 
a  sort  of  barn,  governing  his  Empire  and  con- 
trolling Europe.  The  doubtful  issue  of  the  battle  of  Eylau 
had  given  a  shock  to  public  opinion  and  it  required  all  the 
Emperor's  prudence  and  address  to  overcome  it.  Great 
despondency  was  produced  in  Paris  by  the  bulletin  of  the 
battle  and  a  marked  depression  took  place  in  the  funds. 


VIII 

FRIEDLAND  AND  PEACE  OF  TILSIT 

Napoleon  soon  decided  that  it  would  be  fatal  rashness 
to  engage  in  another  campaign  in  Poland  while  several 
fortified  towns,  and  above  all,  Dantzic,  held  out  in  his 
rear.     He  determined  to  capture  all  these  places    and  to 


242  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

summon  new  forces  from  France  before  again  meeting 
in  the  field  such  enemies  as  the  Russians  had  proved 
themselves  to  be. 

Dantzic  was  at  length  compelled  to  surrender  on  May 
7th  1807,  Marshal  I^febvre  receiving  the  title  of  Duke  of 
Dantzic  in  commemoration  of  his  important  success, 
after  which  event  Napoleon's  extraordinary  exertions  in 
hurrying  supplies  from  France,  Switzerland  and  the 
Rhine  country,  and  the  addition  of  the  division  of  25,000 
men  which  had  captured  Dantzic,  enabled  him  to  take 
the  field  again  by  the  first  of  June  at  the  head  of  not  less 
than  280,000  men.  The  Russian  general  had  also  done 
all  in  his  power  to  recruit  his  army  which  was  now  rein- 
forced by  90,000  men,  during  this  interval. 

The  Russians  were  in  the  field  by  the  5th  of  June  and  were 
the  first  assailants;  but  nothing  but  skirmishes  resulted  un- 
til the  Russian  army  was  forced  to  retire  towards  Heilsberg 
where  they  halted,  and  there  concentrating  their  forces, 
made  a  most  desperate  stand.  They  were,  however, 
overpowered  by  superior  numbers,  after  maintaining  their 
position  during  a  whole  day.  The  battle  had  continued 
until  midnight  upon  terms  of  equality,  and  when  the 
morning  dawned  the  space  between  the  Russians  and 
French  was  literally  sheeted  over  with  the  bodies  of  the 
dead  and  wounded. 

The  Russians  retired  after  the  battle,  crossing  the  river 
Aller,  and  on  the  1 3th  of  June  reached  Friedland,  a  town 
of  some  importance  on  the  west  side  of  the  stream,  com- 
municating with  the  eastern,  or  right  bank  of  the  river  by 
a  long  wooden  bridge.  It  was  the  intention  of  Napoleon 
to  induce  the  Russian  general  to  pass  by  this  narrow  bridge 
by  the  left  bank,  and  then  to  decoy  him  into  a  general 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  243 

action,  in  a  position  where  the  general  difficuhy  of  defil- 
ing through  the  town,  and  over  the  bridge,  must  render 
retreat  almost  impossible.  For  this  purpose  he  showed 
only  such  portion  of  his  forces  as  induced  General  Ben- 
nigsen  to  believe  that  the  French  troops  on  the  western 
side  of  the  Aller  consisted  only  of  Oudinot's  division, 
which  had  been  severely  handled  in  the  battle  of  Heils- 
berg,  and  which  he  now  hoped  to  altogether  destroy. 
Under  this  deception  Bennigsen  ordered  a  Russian  division 
to  pass  the  bridge, defile  through  the  town  and  march  to  the 
assault.  The  French  took  great  care  to  offer  no  such 
resistance  as  would  show  their  real  strength,  and  Bennig- 
sen supposing  he  had  only  a  single  division  of  the  French 
army  before  him,  and  forgetting  the  usual  promptitude 
of  combination  for  which  Napoleon  was  distinguished,  had 
pushed  on  and  brought  an  action  which  he  believed  he 
could  terminate  quickly  and  triumphantly.  He  was  soon 
led  to  reinforce  this  first  division  with  another.  This  was 
followed  by  other  still  divisions,  and  as  the  engagement  was 
now  becoming  heated  the  Russian  general  at  length  trans- 
ported all  his  army,  one  division  excepted,  to  the  left 
bank  of  the  Aller,  by  means  of  the  wooden  bridge  and 
three  pontoons,  and  arrayed  them  in  front  of  the  town  of 
Friedland,  to  overpower,  as  he  supposed,  the  crippled 
division  of  the  French  to  which  alone  he  believed  himself 
exposed.  But  no  sooner  had  he  taken  this  irretrievable 
step  than  the  mask  was  dropped. 

Napoleon  was  at  first  unable  to  believe  that  Bennigsen 
would  venture  to  leave  any  part  of  his  army  for  any  period 
in  so  perilous  a  position  as  that  in  which  he  had  placed  it, 
maintaining  a  doubtful  combat  with  no  means  of  retreat 
but  through  the  entanglement  of  the  town  of  Friedland, 


244  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

and  across  the  long  narrow  bridge  of  the  Aller.  His 
astonishment  was  great,  therefore,  when  he  learned  from 
the  officers  he  sent  to  reconnoitre  that  the  whole  Russian 
army  was  crossing  the  bridge,  with  the  exception  of  one 
small  division,  and  forming  in  front  of  the  town.  He 
had  secured,  a  victory  by  his  numbers  and  position,  but 
his  remark  to  Savary,  who  carried  him  the  information  of 
the  Russian  movement,  was  characteristic,  "Well,"  said 
he,  ' '  I  am  ready  now,  I  have  an  hour's  advantage  of  them, 
and  will  give  them  the  battle,  since  they  wish  for  it." 
The  French  skirmishers  advanced  in  force, heavy  columns 
of  infantry  began  to  show  themselves,  batteries  of  cannon 
were  placed  in  position,  and  Bennigsen  found  himself  in 
the  presence  of  the  whole  French  army.  His  position,  a 
sort  of  plain  surrounded  by  woods  and  broken  ground, 
was  difficult  to  defend  ;  with  the  town  and  a  large  river  in 
the  rear  it  was  dangerous  to  attempt  a  retreat,  and  an 
advance  was  prevented  by  the  inequality  of  his  force. 
Bennigsen  found  it  expedient  to  detach  6,000  men  to 
defend  the  bridge  at  Allerberg,  some  six  miles  from  Fried- 
land  on  the  Aller,  and  with  the  rest  of  his  forces  he 
resolved  to  maintain  his  present  position  until  night, 
hoping  for  Prussian  reinforcements  from  General  ly' 
Bstocq,  via  the  town  of  Wehlau. 

At  about  10  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  the  14th 
the  French  advanced  to  the  attack.  "This  is  the 
14th  of  June;  it  will  be  a  fortunate  day  for  us,"  said 
Napoleon,  recurring  to  the  most  glorious  day  of  his  life  ; 
"  it  is  the  anniversary  of  the  battle  of  Marengo. ' '  The 
broken  and  wooded  country  which  the  French  occupied 
enabled  them  to  maintain  and  renew  their  efforts  at  pleas- 
ure, while  the  Russians  in  their  exposed  position  could 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  245 

not  make  the  slightest  movement  without  being  observed. 
At  about  noon  the  French  seemed  to  be  sickening  of  the 
contest  and  about  to  retire.  This,  however,  was  only  a 
feint  to  give  repose  to  such  of  the  forces  as  had  been 
engaged,  and  to  bring  up  reinforcements.  The  cannonad- 
ing continued  until  after  4  o'clock,  the  Russian  line 
having  sustained  charge  after  charge  and  had  neither 
recoiled  or  broken  before  infantry  or  cavalry.  Napoleon, 
from  his  point  of  observation  near  the  battlefield,  had 
witnessed  the  failure  of  every  strategem  and  the  charge 
of  every  division,  and  at  last  finding  the  day  waning,  drew 
up  his  full  force  in  person  for  the  purpose  of  making  one 
of  those  desperate  and  generally  irrisistible  efforts  to  which 
he  often  resorted  to  force  a  decision  of  a  doubtful  day. 

There  was  not  a  marshal  in  his  Empire  under  whom  the 
troops  would  not  behave  gallantly,  but  when  the  Kmperor 
put  himself  at  the  head  of  his  army  and  led  them  to  the 
charge,  nothing  could  resist  the  shock.  The  brave 
Oudinot,  hastening  up  with  coat  perforated  by  balls,  and 
his  horse  covered  with  blood,  exclaimed  to  the  Kmperor  : 
' '  Make  haste,  sire,  give  me  a  reinforcement,  and  I  will 
drive  all  the  Russians  into  the  water  ! ' '  The  day  was  far 
advanced,  and  some  of  Napoleon's  lieutenants  were  of  the 
opinion  that  they  ought  to  defer  the  final  and  decisive 
movement  till  the  morrow.  "  No  !  No  !  "  replied  Napo- 
leon. "  One  does  not  catch  an  enemy  twice  in  such  a 
scrape."  He  then  made  his  disposition  of  the  several 
corps  for  the  final  attack. 

Surrounded  by  his  lieutenants,  he  explained  to  them, 
with  energy  and  precision,  the  part  which  each  of  them 
had  to  act.  Grasping  the  arm  of  Marshal  Ney,  and 
pointing  to  Friedland,  the  bridges,  the  Russians  crowded 


246  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

together  in  front,  he  said  :  ' '  Yonder  is  the  goal, 
march  to  it  without  looking  about  you  ;  break  into  that 
thick  mass  whatever  it  costs  you  ;  enter  Friedland,  take 
the  bridges,  and  give  yourself  no  concern  about 
what  may  happen  on  your  right,  on  your  left  or  on  your 
rear.     The  army  and  I  shall  be  there  to  attend  to   that. ' ' 

Ney  at  once  set  out  at  a  gallop  to  accomplish  the  formid- 
able task.  Struck  with  his  martial  attitude  Napoleon, 
addressing  Marshal  Mortier,  said  with  much  satisfac- 
tion :    ' '  That  man  is  a  lion  ! ' ' 

The  order  for  attack  all  along  the  line  with  cavalry,  in- 
fantry and  artillery  was  now  given,  and  simultaneously  the 
Russians  began  to  yield,  the  French  advancing  at  the  same 
time  with  shouts  of  assured  victory.  The  Russians  were 
now  obliged  to  retreat  in  front  of  the  enemy,  and  in  half 
an  hour  the  rout  was  complete.  In  vain  did  the  enemy 
make  all  their  reser\^es  advance  ;  Friedland  was  at  last  car- 
ried, but  in  the  midst  of  a  horrible  carnage.  The  enemy 
left  20,000  men  on  the  field,  of  whom  15,000  were  killed 
and  5,000  wounded,  and  among  the  number  thirty 
generals. 

Dupont,  who  had  been  sent  to  assist  Ney, met  him  in  the 
heart  of  Friedland,  then  in  flames,  and  they  congratulated 
one  another  on  the  glorious  success :  Ney  had  continued  to 
march  straight  forward,  and  Napoleon, placed  in  the  centre 
of  the  divisions  which  he  kept  in  reserve,  had  never  ceased 
to  watch  his  progress.  It  was  now  half  past  ten  at 
night.  Napoleon  in  his  vast  career  had  not  gained  a 
more  splendid  victory.  He  had  for  trophies  eighty  pieces 
of  cannon,  few  prisoners,  it  is  true,  for  the  Russians  chose 
rather  to  drown  themselves  than  surrender.  Twenty-five 
thousand  Russians  were  killed  as  against  8,000  French. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  247 

Out  of  80,000  French  25,000  had  not  fired  a  shot.  Mean- 
while the  bridge  and  pontoons  were  set  on  fire  to  prevent 
the  French  who  had  forced  their  way  into  the  town,  from 
taking  possession  of  them.  The  smoke  rolling  over  the 
scene  increased  the  horror  of  the  surroundings. 

The  Russian  centre  and  right,  which  remained  on  the 
west  side  of  the  Aller,  effected  a  retreat  by  a  circuitous 
route,  leaving  on  the  right  the  town  of  Friedland  with 
its  burning  bridges  no  longer  practicable  for  friend  or  foe, 
and  passed  the  Aller  by  a  ford  found  in  the  very  moment 
of  extremity  further  down  the  river.  Napoleon  sent  no 
cavalry  in  pursuit,  though  he  had  forty  squadrons  who 
might  have  cut  them  to  pieces.  Many  animadversions 
have  been  cast  upon  him  for  not  improving  his  victory  in 
this  manner  ;  but  the  reason  appeared  clear  :  his  object 
was  to  make  peace  with  the  Emperor  Alexander,  and  the 
butchery  of  the  broken  battalions  of  the  Russian  guard 
would  in  no  way  have  forwarded  that  object,  andnopowei 
remained  to  oppose  itself  to  the  immense  force  under 
France's  victorious  warrior. 

Thus  ended  the  great  battle  of  Friedland.  "  My  child- 
ren," wrote  Napoleon  to  Josephine,  "have  worthily 
celebrated  the  battle  of  Marengo.  The  battle  of  Fried- 
land will  be  equally  celebrated  and  glorious  for  my  people. 
It  is  a  worthy  sister  of  Marengo,  Austerlitz  and 
Jena." 

Napoleon  visited  the  battlefield  the  next  morning  and 
beheld  a  frightful  spectacle.  The  order  of  the  Russian 
squares  could  be  traced  by  a  line  of  heaps  of  slain  ;  and  the 
position  of  their  artillery  might  be  guessed  by  the  dead 
horses.  As  Savary  well  says :  "  It  might  be  truly  said 
that  sovereigns  ought  to  have  great  interests  of  their 
subjects  at  stake  to  justify  such  dreadful  sacrifices." 


248  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Emperor  Alexander,  overawed  by  the  genius  of 
Napoleon  which  had  triumphed  over  troops  more  resolute 
than  had  ever  before  opposed  him,  and  alarmed  for  the 
consequences  of  some  decisive  measure  towards  the  reor- 
ganization of  the  Poles  as  a  nation,  began  to  think 
seriously  of  peace.  On  the  2  ist  of  June  General  Bennigsen 
asked  for  an  armistice  and  to  this  the  victor  of  Friedland 
gave  an  immediate  assent  on  his  arrival  at  Tilsit,  On 
the  22nd  of  June  a  proclamation  was  addressed  by  Napo- 
leon to  his  army  in  which  he  said ;  ' '  From  the  banks  of 
the  Vistula,  we  have  arrived  upon  those  of  the  Niemen 
with  the  rapidity  of  the  eagle's  flight.  You  celebrated  at 
Austerlitz,  the  anniversary  of  the  coronation,  and  you 
have  this  year  celebrated,  in  an  appropriate  manner,  the 
battle  of  Marengo,  which  put  a  period  to  the  second  coali- 
tion. Frenchmen,  you  have  proved  worthy  of  yourselves 
and  me.  You  will  return  to  France  covered  with  laurels 
after  having  obtained  a  glorious  peace,  which  carries  with 
it  the  guarantee  for  its  duration." 

It  was  known  that  the  Emperor  Alexander  was  on  the 
other  side  of  the  Niemen,  at  a  village  not  far  distant,  and 
Napoleon  addressed  his  reply  to  the  sovereign  in  person. 
Its  purport  was  to  the  eflfect  that  he  was  quite  ready  to 
make  peace  but  would  not  consent  to  an  armistice,  if  war 
were  to  continue.  The  result  was  a  proposal  on  the  part 
of  Alexander  that  an  interview  should  take  place  between 
the  Emperor  of  France  and  himself,  which  was  accepted. 
The  armistice  was  ratified  on  the  23rd  of  June  and  on  the 
25th  the  Emperors  of  France  and  Russia  met  personally, 
each  accompanied  by  a  few  attendants,  on  a  raft  moored 
midstream  in  the  river  Niemen,  near  Tilsit,  the 
town  which  gave  its  name  to  the  secret  treaty  agreed  upon 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  249 

at  this  time.  The  sovereigns  embraced  as  they  met,  with. 
their  armies  on  the  two  banks  of  the  river  and  retiring 
under  a  canopy,  amid  the  cheers  of  the  troops,  had  a  long 
conversation,  to  which  no  one  was  a  witness. 

At  its  termination  the  appearance  of  mutual  good  will 
and  confidence  was  marked,  and  the  two  Emperors 
established  their  courts  there  and  lived  together,  in  the 
midst  of  the  lately  hostile  armies,  more  like  old  friends 
than  enemies  and  rivals,  attempting  by  diplomatic  means 
the  arrangement  of  differences  which  had  for  years  been 
deluging  Europe  with  blood.  By  this  treaty  the  King  of 
Prussia  was  admitted  as  a  party.  Napoleon  restoring  to 
Frederick  William  ancient  Prussia  and  the  French  con- 
quests in  Upper  Saxony, — the  king  agreeing  to  adopt 
the  ' '  Continental  System. ' ' 

The  beautiful  and  fascinating  Queen  of  Prussia  also 
arrived  at  Tilsit,  but  too  late  to  obtain  more  favorable  terms 
for  her  country  than  had  already  been  granted  her  hus- 
band. ' '  Forgive  us, ' '  she  said,  as  Napoleon  received  her, 
' '  forgive  us  this  fatal  war  ;  the  memory  of  the  great 
Frederick  deceived  us  ;  we  thought  ourselves  his  equal 
because  we  are  his  descendants  ;  alas  !  we  have  not  proved 
such  !  " 

.  The  Queen  used  every  strategem  which  wit  and  genius 
could  devise,  and  every  fascination  to  which  beauty  could 
lend  a  charm,  but  without  avail.  Foiled  in  her  ambition 
she  died  soon  after,  it  is  said,  of  chagrin. 

No  single  episode  in  the  career  of  Napoleon  Bonaparte 
has  been  more  adversely  commented  on  than  his  alleged 
breach  of  faith  with  the  Queen  of  Prussia,  when  the 
domain  of  her  husband  was  absolutely  at  his  feet.  He 
always  denied  that  he  had  broken  his  word,  and  according 


250  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

to  his  own  story,  as  told  after  his  final  retirement,  the 
Queen  had  no  cause  of  complaint. 

"  The  Queen  of  Prussia  was  still  a  beautiful  woman," 
he  said,  ' '  but  she  had  lost  many  of  the  charms  of  youth. 
She  evidently  expected  to  use  her  powers  of  persuasion  on 
me  for  the  benefit  of  Prussia.  At  dinner  I  took  a  beautiful 
rose  from  the  table  and  presented  it  to  her.  She  took  it, 
smiled  sweetly,  and  exclaimed  :  'At  least  with  Madgeburg, 
I  hope.'  I  answered  :  '  Your  majesty  will  observe  that  I 
am  doing  the  giving  and  you  are  receiving  what  I  give. ' 

' '  I  hastened  the  preparations  for  the  completion  of  the 
treaty,  and  it  was  signed.  When  the  Queen  learned  that 
Magdeburg  had  not  been  given  to  Prussia  she  was  very 
angry.  She  went  to  the  Czar  Alexander,  and  said,  with 
tears  in  her  eyes  :  '  That  man  has  broken  his  word  with 
me.'  '  Oh,  no  !  the  Czar  answered.  '  I  can  hardly  think 
that.  I  believe  I  have  been  present  on  every  occasion 
when  you  have  met  Napoleon,  and  I  have  listened  more 
carefully  than  you  have  thought.  But,  if  ypu  can  prove 
to  me  that  he  made  any  promise  that  he  has  not  kept,  I 
I  pledge  you  my  word  as  a  man  I  will  see  that  he  keeps  it. ' 

' '  Oh,  but  he  gave  me  to  understand — ' 

"'That  is  precisely  the  point,'  responded  the  Czar. 
'  He  has  promised  nothing. '  The  Queen  turned  quickly 
and  left  the  apartment.  She  was  too  proud  to  acknowledge 
that  in  her  effort  to  outwit  me  she  had  been  outwitted. ' ' 

At  a  subsequent  meeting  with  Napoleon  the  Queen 
said,  "  Is  it  possible,  that,  after  having  the  honor  of  being 
so  near  the  hero  of  the  century  and  of  history,  he  will  not 
leave  me  the  power  and  satisfaction  of  being  enabled  to 
assure  him   he  has  attached  me  to  him  for  life  ?  ' ' 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  251 

"  Madam  "  replied  the  Emperor,  in  a  serious  tone,  "  I 
am  to  be  pitied  ;  it  is  the  result  of  my  unhappy  stars. ' ' 
He  then  took  leave  of  the  Queen,  who,  on  reaching  her 
carriage,  threw  herself  on  the  seat  in  tears. 

Alexander  was  charmed  by  the  presence  of  Napoleon, 
They  spent  some  days  at  Tilsit  together,  and  never  did  he 
leave  the  French  Emperor  without  expressing  his  un- 
bounded admiration  of  him.  "What  a  great  man,"  he 
said  incessantly  to  those  who  approached  him  ;  * '  What  a 
genius  !  What  extensive  views  !  What  a  captain  ! 
What  a  statesman  !  Had  I  but  known  him  sooner  how 
many  faults  he  might  have  spared  me  !  What  great 
things  we  might  have  accomplished  together  ! ' ' 

In  July  Napoleon  hastened  back  to  Paris,  arriving  there 
on  the  27th.  He  was  received  by  the  Senate  and  other 
public  bodies  as  well  as  by  the  people  with  demonstrations 
similar  to  those  which  had  been  shown  him  on  his  return 
from  the  victory  at  Austerlitz.  Fetes  and  celebrations  in 
honor  of  his  achievements  dazzled  the  world.  He  had 
now  wrung  from  the  last  of  his  reluctant  enemies,  except 
England,  the  recognition  of  his  imperial  power,  which 
already  embraced  a  wider  territory  and  a  far  greater 
number  of  subjects  than  Charlemagne  ruled  over,  as  Em- 
peror of  the  West,  a  thousand  years  before.  The  power 
of  Napoleon,  the  prosperity  of  France,  and  the  splendor  of 
Paris  may  be  said  to  have  been  at  their  greatest  height  at 
this  period.  The  regulation  of  the  whole  Empire  lay  in 
the  hand  of  Napoleon  himself,  and  as  the  glory  of  France 
had  always  been,  and  continued  to  be  his  grand  object, 
every  faculty  of  his  intellect  was  bent  to  its  promotion. 

"  I  am  inclined  to  think  that  I  was  happiest  at  Tilsit," 
said  Napoleon  one  day  to  Gourgaud  at  St.  Helena  on 

17 


252  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

being  asked  at  what  time  he  was  happiest.  ' '  I  had  exper- 
ienced vicissitudes,  cares,  and  reverses' ' ,  he  continued, 
' '  Eylau  had  reminded  me  that  fortune  might  abandon 
me,  and  I  found  myself  victorious,  dictating  peace,  with 
emperors  and  kings  to  form  my  court.  After  all  that  is 
not  a  real  enjoyment.  Perhaps  I  was  really  more  happy 
after  my  Italian  victories  hearing  the  people  raise  their 
voices,  only  to  bless  their  liberator,  and  all  that  at  twenty- 
five  years  of  age  !  From  that  time  I  saw  what  I  might 
become,  I  already  saw  the  world  flying  beneath  me,  as  if 
I  had  been  carried  through  the  air. ' ' 

Napier,  the  eminent  historian,  and  himself  an  actor  in 
many  of  the  scenes  he  describes,  says  :  ' '  Up  to  the  peace 
of  Tilsit,  the  wars  of  France  were  essentially  defensive  ; 
for  the  bloody  contest  that  wasted  the  Continent  so  many 
years  was  not  a  struggle  for  pre-eminence  between  ambi- 
tious powers — not  a  dispute  for  some  acquisition  of  ter- 
ritory— nor  for  the  political  ascendency  of  one  or  another 
nation — but  a  deadly  conflict  to  determine  whether  aristoc- 
racy or  democracy  should  predominate — whether  aristoc- 
racy or  privilege  should  henceforth  be  the  principle  of 
European  governments. ' ' 

On  the  15th  of  August  the  Emperor  repaired  in  great 
pomp  to  Notre  Dame,  where  the  Te  Deum  was  sung  and 
thanksgiving  offered  up  for  the  peace  of  Tilsit — a  peace 
that  gave  much  glory  to  France,  but  which  as  has  gener- 
ally been  conceded,  was  "  poor  politics  "  ;  but,  as  Thiers 
has  well  said :  "In  war  Napoleon  was  guided  by  his 
genius,  in  politics  by  his  passions." 


IX 
WAR  WITH  SPAIN 

At  the  signing  of  the  treaty  of  Tilsit  Napoleon  had 
attained  an  eminence  which,  had  his  career  ended  at  that 
time,  would  have  left  him  a  name  revered  by  all  the  world 
— except,  perhaps,  it  be  by  those  enemies  whom  he  had 
defeated  on  the  field  of  battle.  His  star  of  destiny,  how- 
ever, was  soon  to  be  dimmed  by  acts  which  he  ever  after- 
wards regretted,  and  which,  as  he  himself  more  than  once 
declared,  were  the  means  to  the  end  which  finally  caused 
his  decline  and  fall. 

Napoleon  now  turned  his  attention  to  Spain,  where 
scenes  shocking  to  morality  were  being  enacted  under  the 
protection  of  Charles  IV. ,  the  old  and  imbecile  Bourbon 
king,  in  order,  as  he  then  believed,  to  insure  the  success 
of  his  "  continental  system."  Ferdinand,  the  crown 
prince,  had  formed  a  party  against  his  father  and  was 
attempting  to  dethrone  him,  while  murderous  courtiers 
filled  the  halls  of  the  royal  palace  of  Madrid,  and  dictated 
laws  to  the  crumbling  monarchy. 

The  vast  extent  to  which  the  prohibited  articles 
and  colonial  manufactures  of  England  found  their  way 
into  the  Spanish  peninsula,  and  especially  into  Portugal, 
and  thence  through  the  hands  of  whole  legions  of  auda- 
cious smugglers  into  France  itself,  had  fixed  the  attention 
of  Napoleon,  who  was  exasperated  ac  the  violation  of  his 
* '  Berlin  decrees  ' '  against  the  continental  traffic  with  Eng- 
land.    In  truth,  a  proclamation  issued  at  Madrid  shortly 

253 


254  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

before  the  battle  of  Jena,  and  suddenly  recalled  on  the 
intelligence  of  that  great  victory,  had  prepared  the  Empe- 
ror to  regard  with  keen  suspicion  the  conduct  of  the 
Spanish  court,  and  to  trace  every  violation  of  his  system 
to  its  deliberate  and  hostile  connivance.  Napoleon  knew 
that  the  Spanish  cabinet,  like  that  of  Austria,  was  ready 
to  declare  itself  the  ally  of  Russia,  Prussia  and  England, 
when  the  battle  of  Jena  came  to  deceive  the  hopes  of  the 
coalition.  The  last  hour  of  the  ancient  regime  was  at 
hand  beyond  the  Pyrenees  ;  Napoleon  felt  himself  called 
upon  to  give  the  signal  to  sound  the  fearful  knell  of  its 
interment. 

A  treaty  was  ratified  at  Fontainebleau  on  the  29th  of 
October  1807  between  Erance  and  Spain,  providing  for  the 
immediate  invasion  of  Portugal  by  a  force  of  28,000  Erench 
soldiers,  under  the  orders  of  Junot,  and  of  27,000  Span- 
iards ;  while  a  reserve  of  40,000  Erench  troops  were  to  be 
assembled  at  Bayonne  ready  to  take  the  field  by  the  end 
of  November,  in  case  England  should  lend  an  army  for 
the  defense  of  Portugal,  or  the  people  of  that  country 
meet  Junot  by  a  national  insurrection.  Junot  forthwith 
commenced  his  march  through  Spain,  where  the  Erench 
soldiery  were  everywhere  received  with  coldness  and 
suspicion,  but  nowhere  by  any  hostile  movement  of  the 
people.  He  arrived  in  Portugal,  on  a  peremptory  order 
from  Napoleon,  late  in  November.  The  contingent  of 
Spaniards  arrived  there  also,  and  placed  themselves  under 
Junot' s  command. 

On  November  29th,  and  but  a  few  hours  before  Junot 
made  his  appearance  at  the  gates  of  lyisbon,  the  prince- 
regent  fled  precipitately  and  sailed  for  the  Brazils.  The 
disgust  of  the  Portugese  at  this  cowardly  act  was  eminently 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  255 

useiul  to  the  invaders,  and  with  the  exception  of  one 
trivial  insurrection,  when  the  conqueror  took  down  the 
Portugese  arms  and  set  up  those  of  Napoleon  in  their 
place,  several  months  passed  in  apparent  tranquility. 
"The  House  of  the  Braganza  (Bourbon's),  had  ceased  to 
reign,"  as  announced  in  the  "  Moniteur  "  at  Paris. 

Napoleon  thus  saw  Portugal  in  his  grasp  ;  but  he  had 
all  along  considered  it  as  a  place  of  minor  importance,  and 
availing  himself  of  the  treaty  of  Fontainebleau, — although 
there  had  been  no  insurrection  of  the  Portugese,  he  ordered 
his  army  of  40,000  men,  named  in  the  treaty,  to  proceed 
slowly  but  steadily  into  the  heart  of  Spain  and,  without 
opposition.  The  royal  family  quietly  acquiesced  in  this 
movement  for  some  months,  Ijeing  apparently  much  more 
interested  in  its  own  petty  conspiracies  and  domestic  broils. 
A  sudden  panic  at  length  seized  the  king  and  his  minister, 
who  prepared  for  flight.  On  the  i8th  of  March,  1808,  the 
house  of  Godoy,  the  court  favorite,  was  sacked  by  the 
populace,  Godoy  himself  assaulted,  and  his  life  saved 
with  extreme  difficulty  by  the  royal  guards,  who  placed 
him  under  arrest.  At  this  Charles  IV.  abdicated  his 
throne  in  terror,  and  on  the  20th  of  March  Ferdinand  his 
son  was  proclaimed  king  at  Madrid  amid  a  tumult  of  pop- 
ular applause. 

Murat  had, ere  this, assumed  command  of  all  the  French 
troops  in  Spain,  and  hearing  of  the  extremities  to  which 
the  court  factions  had  gone,  he  now  moved  rapidly  on 
Madrid,  surrounded  the  capital  with  30,000  troops  and 
on  the  23rd  of  March  took  possession  of  it  in  person  at  the 
head  of  10,000  more.  Charles  IV. ,  meanwhile,  dispatched 
messengers  both  to  Napoleon  and  to  Murat  asserting  that 
his  abdication  had  been  involuntary,  and  invoking  their 
assistance  against  his  son. 


256  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Ferdinand  entered  Madrid  on  the  24th,  found  the 
French  general  in  command  of  the  capital,  and  in  vain 
claimed  his. recognition  as  king.  Napoleon  heard  with 
regret  of  the  action  of  Murat,  who  had  risked  arousing 
the  pride  and  anger  of  the  Spaniards.  He  therefore  sent 
Savary,  in  whose  practiced  skill  he  hoped  to  find  a  remedy 
for  the  military  rashness  of  Murat,  and  who  was  to  assume 
the  chief  direction  of  afiairs  at  Madrid. 

Ferdinand  was  at  length  persuaded  by  Savary  that  his 
best  chance  of  securing  the  aid  and  protection  of  Napo- 
leon lay  in  meeting  him  on  his  way  to  the  Spanish  capital 
and  strive  to  gain  his  ear  before  the  emissaries  of  Godoy 
should  be  able  to  make  an  impression  concerning  Charles' 
rights.  Ferdinand,  therefore,  took  his  departure,  and 
passing  the  frontier,  arrived  at  Bayonne  on  the  20th  of 
April  where  he  was  received  by  Napoleon  with  courtesy.  In 
the  evening  he  was  informed  by  Savary,  who  had  accom- 
panied him, that  his  doom  was  sealed, — ' '  that  the  Bourbon 
dynasty  had  ceased  to  reign  in  Spain,"  and  that  his  per- 
sonal safety  must  depend  on  the  readiness  with  which  he 
should  resign  all  his  pretensions  into  the  hands  of 
Napoleon. 

Murat  was  now  directed  to  employ  means  to  have  the 
old  king  and  queen  repair  also  to  Bayonne,  which  they 
did,  arriving  there  on  May  4th.  Following  a  bitter  family 
quarrel,  Charles  IV.  resigned  the  crown  of  Spain  for  him- 
self and  his  heirs,  accepting  in  return  from  the  hands  of 
Napoleon  a  safe  retreat  in  Italy  and  a  splendid  mansion. 
At  the  first  interview  Charles  IV.  and  his  son  were  irrevo- 
cably judged.  "  "When  I  beheld  them  at  my  feet,"  Na- 
poleon said  later,  "and  could  judge  of  all  their 
incapacity,  I  took    pity  on  the  fate  of    a  great  nation  ;  I 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  257 

-seized  the  only  opportunity  which  fortune  presented  me 
with,  for  regenerating  Spain,  separating  her  from  England 
and  closely  uniting  her  with  our  system."  A  few  days 
afterward  Ferdinand  VII.  followed  the  example  of  his 
father  and  executed  a  similar  act  of  resignation. 

A  suspicion  that  France  meditated  the  destruction  of  the 
national  independence  in  Spain  now  began  to  spread,  and 
on  the  2nd  of  May  when  Don  Antonio,  president  of  the 
Council  of  Regency  at  Madrid,  and  uncle  of  Ferdinand, 
began  preparations  for  departing  from  the  capital,  the  in- 
habitants became  much  enraged.  A  crowd  collected  around 
the  carriage  intended,  as  they  concluded,  to  convey  the 
last  of  the  royal  family  out  of  Spain  ;  the  traces  were  cut 
and  imprecations  heaped  upon  the  French.  Coloael  L,a 
Grange,  Murat's  aide-de-camp,  happening  to  appear  on 
the  spot,  was  cruelly  maltreated,  and  in  a  moment  the 
whole  capital  was  in  an  uproar.  The  French  soldiery  were 
assaulted  everywhere,  about  seven  hundred  being  slain. 
The  French  cavalry,  hearing  the  tumult,  entered  the  city 
and  a  bloody  massacre  ensued.  Many  hundreds  were  made 
prisoners.  The  troops  then  charged  through  the  streets 
from  end  to  end,  released  their  comrades,  and  ere  nightfall 
had  apparently  restored  tranquility.  Murat  ordered  all  the 
prisoners  to  be  tried  by  a  military  commission,  which 
doomed  them  to  instant  death. 

The  reports  of  the  insurrection  spread  rapidly  through- 
out the  peninsula,  and  in  almost  every  town  in  Spain 
depredations  were  committed  against  the  French  citizens, 
many  of  the  acts  being  fomented  by  agents  of  England, 
whose  navies  hung  along  the  coast  inflaming  the  passions 
of  the  multitude. 


258  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Napoleon  received  this  intelligence  with  alarm,  but  he 
had  already  gone  too  far  to  retreat.  He  proceeded,  there- 
fore, to  act  precisely  as  if  no  insurrection  had  occurred. 
Tranquility  being  re-established  in  Madrid  the  Council  of 
Castile  was  convoked  and  Napoleon's  brother  Joseph  was 
chosen  by  an  imperial  decree  as  their  ruler.  Ninety-five 
notables  met  him  in  Bayonne  and  swore  fealty  to  him  and 
a  new  constitution.  Joseph  on  entering  Spain  was  met 
by  many  demonstrations  of  disapproval  and  hatred, but  the 
main  road  being  occupied  with  Napoleon's  tr6ops,  he 
reached  Madrid  in  safety. 

England  now  became  anxious  to  afford  the  Spaniards 
every  assistance  possible.  On  the  4th  of  July  the  king 
addressed  the  English  parliament  on  the  subject,  declaring 
that  Spain  could  no  longer  be  considered  the  enemy  of 
Great  Britain,  but  was  recognized  by  him  as  a  natural 
friend  and  ally.  Supplies  of  arms  and  money  were  liberally 
transmitted  thither,  and  Portugal,  catching  the  flame,  and 
bursting  into  general  insurrection,  a  treaty  of  alli- 
ance, offensive  and  defensive  was  soon  concluded  between 
England  and  the  two  kingdoms  of  the  peninsula. 

It  was  impossible  for  Napoleon  to  concentrate  the  whole 
of  his  gigantic  strength  of  500,000  men  on  the  soil  of 
Spain,  as  his  relations  with  those  powers  on  the  Continent 
whom  he  had  not  entirely  subdued,  were  of  the  most 
unstable  character.  His  troops,  moreover,  being  drawn 
from  a  multitude  of  different  countries  and  tongues,  could 
not  be  united  in  heart  or  discipline  like  the  soldiers  of  a 
purely  national  army.  On  the  other  hand  the  military 
genius  at  his  command  had  never  been  surpassed  in  any 
age  or  country.  His  officers  were  accustomed  to  victory, 
and  his  own  reputation  exerted  a  magical  influence  over 
both  friends  and  foes. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  259 

At  the  moment  when  the  insurrection  occurred,  20,000 
Spanish  troops  were  in  Portugal  under  the  orders  of  Junot ; 
15,000  more  under  the  Marquis  de  Roma  were  serving 
Napoleon  in  Holstein,  There  remained  40,000  Spanish 
regulars,  1 1,000  Swiss  and  30,000  militia  to  combat  80,000 
French  soldiers  then  in  possession  of  half  of  the  chief  fort- 
resses of  the  country. 

After  various  petty  skirmishes,  in  which  the  French 
were  uniformly  successful,  Bessieres  came  upon  the  united 
armies  of  Castile,  Leon  and  Galicia,  commanded  by 
Generals  Cuesta  and  Blak  on  the  14th  of  July  at  Riosecco, 
and  defeated  them  in  a  desperate  action  in  which  not  less 
than  20,000  Spaniards  were  killed.  This  calamitous  battle 
opened  the  gates  of  Madrid  to  the  new  king,  who  arrived  at 
the  capital  on  the  20th  of  the  month  only  to  quit  it  again  in 
less  than  a  fortnight  to  take  up  his  head  quarters  at  Vit- 
toria  to  preserve  his  safety.  The  English  government, 
meanwhile,  had  begun  its  preparations  for  interfering 
effectually  in  the  affairs  of  the  peninsula.  Thousands  of 
English  troops  were  landed,  Dupont,  I^efebvre  and  Junot 
meeting  with  reverses  that  resulted  finally  in  the  evacua- 
tion of  the  whole  French  army  from  Portugal. 

The  battle  of  Baylen  was  one  of  the  first  and  most 
fatal  reverses  of  the  French.  Here,  after  a  desperate 
engagement  on  the  23rd  of  July,  upwards  of  18,000  men, 
under'  General  Dupont,  surrendered  to  the  Spaniards, 
defiled  before  the  Spanish  army  with  the  honors  of  war, 
and  deposited  their  arms  in  the  manner  agreed  on  by  both 
parties.  General  Dupont  and  all  the  ofiicers  concerned  in 
the  capitulation,  who  were  permitted  to  return  to 
France,  were  arrested  and  held  in  prison.  Napoleon 
deeply  appreciated  the  importance  of  the  reverse  which 


26o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

his  armies  had  sustained,  but  he  still  more  bitterly  felt  the 
disgrace.  It  is  said  that  to  the  latest  period  of  his  life  he 
manifested  uncontrollable  emotion  at  the  mention  of  this 
disaster.  Subsequently  an  imperial  decree  appeared,  which 
prohibited  every  general,  or  commander  of  a  body  of  men, 
to  treat  for  any  capitulation  while  in  the  open  field  ;  and 
declared  disgraceful  and  criminal,  and  as  such,  punishable 
with  death,  every  capitulation  of  that  kind,  of  which  the 
result  should  be  to  make  the  troops  lay  down  their  arms. 

The  catastrophe  at  Baylen  and  the  valiant  defense  of 
Saragossa  had  in  some  measure  opened  the  eyes  of  Na- 
poleon to  the  character  of  the  nation  with  whom  he  was 
contending.  He  acknowledged,  too  late,  that  he  had 
imprudently  entered  into  war,  and  committed  a  great  fault 
in  having  commenced  it  with  forces  too  few  in  number 
and  too  wildly  scattered.  On  hearing  of  the  ill-luck  of  his 
three  generals,  he  at  once  preceived  that  affairs  in  the 
peninsula  demanded  a  keener  eye  and  a  firmer  hand  than 
his  brother's,  and  he  at  once  resolved  to  take  the  field 
himself,  to  cross  the  Pyrenees  in  person  at  the  head  of  a 
force  capable  of  sweeping  the  whole  peninsula  ' '  at  one 
fell  swoop,"  and  restore  to  his  brother's  reign  the  auspices 
of  a  favorable  fortune. 

When  setting  out  from  Paris  in  the  early  part  of  October, 
1808,  the  Emperor  announced  that  the  peasants  of  Spain 
had  rebelled  against  their  king,  that  treachery  had  caused 
the  ruin  of  one  corps  of  his  army,  and  that  another  had 
been  forced  by  the  English  to  evacuate  Portugal.  Recruit- 
ing his  armies  on  the  German  frontier  and  in  Italy,  he  now 
ordered  his  veteran  troops  to  the  amount  of  2oo,ooo,includ- 
ing  a  vast  and  brilliant  cavalry  and  a  large  body  of  the 
Imperial  Guards,  to  be  drafted  from  those  frontiers 
and  marched  through  France  towards  Spain. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  261 

As  these  warlike  columns  passed  through  Paris  Napo- 
leon addressed  to  them  one  of  those  orations  that  never 
failed  to  fill  them  with  enthusiasm.  * '  Comrades, ' '  said  he 
at  a  grand  review  which  was  held  at  the  Tuileries  on  the 
nth  of  September,  "  after  triumphing  on  the  banks  of  the 
Danube  and  the  Vistula,  with  rapid  steps  you  have  passed 
through  Germany.  This  day,  without  a  moment  of  repose, 
I  command  you  to  traverse  France.  Soldiers,  I  have  need 
of  you.  The  hideous  presence  of  the  English  leopard 
contaminates  the  peninsula  of  Spain  and  Portugal.  In 
terror  he  must  fly  before  you.  I^et  us  bear  our  triumph- 
ant eagles  to  the  pillars  of  Hercules  ;  there  also  we  have 
injuries  to  avenge.  Soldiers  !  You  have  surpassed  the 
renown  of  modern  armies  ;  but  you  have  not  yet  equalled 
the  glory  of  those  Romans,  who,  in  one  and  the  same 
campaign  were  victorious  on  the  Rhine  and  the  Euphrates, 
in  Illyria  and  on  the  Tagus  !  A  long  peace,  a  lasting 
prosperity,  shall  be  the  reward  of  your  labors.  A  real 
Frenchman  could  not,  should  not  rest,  until  the  seas  are 
free  and  open  to  all.  Soldiers,  what  you  have  done  and 
what  you  are  about  to  do,  for  the  happiness  of  the  French 
people,  and  for  my  glory,  shall  be  eternal  in  my  heart." 

Having  thus  dismissed  his  faithful  troops,  Napo- 
leon himself  traveled  rapidly  to  Erfurt,  where  he  had 
invited  the  Emperor  Alexander  to  confer  with  him.  Here 
they  addressed  a  joint  letter  to  the  King  of  England,  pro- 
posing once  more  a  general  peace,  but  as  they  both  refused 
to  acknowledge  any  authority  in  Spain  save  that  of  King 
Joseph,  the  answer  was  in  the  negative.  Austria  also  posi- 
tively refused  to  recognize  Joseph  Bonaparte  as  King 
of  Spain,  and  this  answer  was  enough  to  satisfy  Napoleon 
that  she  was  determined  on  another  campaign. 


262  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

On  the  i4tli  of  October  the  conference  at  Krfurt  termi- 
nated, Napoleon  sincerely  believing  himself  the  friend  of 
Alexander,  and  little  thinking  he  would  one  day  say  of 
him  :  "  He  is  a  faithless  Greek  ! ' '  Ten  days  later  Napo- 
leon was  present  at  the  opening  of  the  legislative  session 
at  Paris,  where  he  spoke  with  confidence  of  his  designs 
and  hopes  in  regard  to  Spain.  ' '  I  depart  in  a  few  days 
to  place  myself  at  the  head  of  my  troops,"  he  said,  "and, 
with  the  aid  of  God,  to  crown  the  king  of  Spain  in 
Madrid,  and  plant  my  eagles  on  the  forts  of  lyisbon. 

Two  days  later  he  left  the  capital  and  reached 
Bayonne  on  the  3rd  of  November,  where  he  remained 
directing  the  movements  of  the  last  columns  of  his  army 
until  the  morning  of  the  8th,  He  arrived  at  Vittoria,  the 
headquarters  of  his  brother  Joseph,  on  the  same  evening. 
At  the  gates  of  the  town  he  was  met  by  the  civil  and 
military  authorities,  where  sumptuous  preparations  had 
been  provided,  but  instead  of  accepting  their  hospitality, 
entered  the  first  inn  he  observed,  and  calling  for  maps  and 
a  detailed  report  of  the  position  of  all  the  armies,  French 
and  Spanish,  proceeded  instantly  to  draw  up  his  plan  for 
the  prosecution  of  the  war.  Within  two  hours  he  had  com- 
pleted his  task.  Soult,  who  had  accompanied  him  from 
Paris,  set  off  on  the  instant,  and  within  a  few  hours  the 
whole  machinery  of  the  army,  comprising  200,000  men, 
was  in  motion. 

Kre  long  Napoleon  saw  the  main  way  to  Madrid  open 
before  him,  except  some  forces  said  to  be  posted  at  the 
strong  defile  of  the  Somosierra,  within  ten  miles  of  the 
capital.  Saragossa  on  the  east,  the  British  army  in  Port- 
ugal on  the  west,  and  Madrid  in  front  were  the  only  far- 
separated  points  on  which  any  show  of  opposition  was  still 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  263 

to  be  traced  from  the  frontiers  of  France  to  those  of  Port- 
ugal, and  from  the  sea  cost  to  the  Tagus. 

Having  regulated  everything  on  his  wings  and  rear, 
the  Emperor  with  his  Imperial  Guards  and  the  first  division 
of  the  army,  now  marched  towards  Madrid,  his  vanguard 
reaching  the  foot  of  the  Somosierra  chain  on  the  30th  of 
November,  Here  he  found  that  a  corps  of  1 2 ,  000  or  1 3 ,  000 
men  had  been  assembled  for  the  defense  of  that  pass  under 
General  San  Juan,  an  able  and  valiant  officer  who  had 
established  an  advance  guard  of  3,000  men  at  the  very 
foot  of  the  slope  which  the  French  would  have  to 
ascend,  and  then  distributed  over  9,000  men  at 
the  pass  of  Somosierra,  at  the  bottom  of  the  gorge;  there 
the  advancing  army  would  be  obliged  to  go  through.  One 
part  of  San  Juan's  force,  posted  on  the  right  and  left  of  the 
road,  which  formed  numerous  windings,  was  to  stop 
the  advance  of  the  French  by  a  double  fire  of  musketry. 
The  others  barred  the  causeway  itself,  near  the  most  diffi- 
cult part  of  the  pass,  with  the  battery.  The  defile  was 
narrow  and  excessively  steep,  and  the  road  completely 
swept  by  sixteen  pieces  of  cannon. 

At  daybreak  on  the  ist  of  December  the  French  began 
their  attempts  to  turn  the  flank  of  San  Juan,  who  imagined 
himself  invincible  in  his  position.  Three  battalions 
scattered  themselves  over  the  opposite  sides  of  the  defile 
and  a  warm  skirmishing  fire  had  begun.  At  this  moment 
Napoleon  came  up,  at  the  head  of  the  cavalry  of  his  Guard 
rode  into  the  mouth  of  the  pass,  surveyed  the  scene  for 
an  instant,  and  perceiving  that  his  infantry  was  making 
no  progress,  at  once  conceived  the  daring  idea  of  causing 
his  brave  Polish  lancers  to  charge  np  the  causeway 
in  face  of  the  battery. 


264  MIL ITARY  CA REER  OF 

The  Emperor  had  stopped  near  the  foot  of  the  moun- 
tain and  attentively  examined  the  enemy's  position,  the 
fire  from  which  seemed  to  redouble,  many  balls  falling 
near  him,  or  passing  over  his  head.  Colonel  Pire  was 
first  dispatched  at  the  head  of  the  Poles  and  having 
reconnoitred  the  position,  countermanded  the  advance,  and 
sent  an  officer  to  notify  Napoleon  ' '  that  the  undertaking 
was  impossible."  Upon  this  information  the  Emperor 
much  irritated  and  striking  the  pommel  of  his  saddle 
exclaimed,  "Impossible  !  Why,  there  is  nothing  impos- 
sible to  my  Poles. ' ' 

General  Wattier,  who  was  present  endeavored  to  calm 
him  but  he  still  continued  to  exclaim,  "Impossible!  I 
know  of  no  such  word.  What,  my  Guard  checked  by 
the  Spaniards, — by  armed  peasants?"  At  this  moment 
the  balls  began  to  whistle  about  him  and  several  ofiicers 
came  forward  and  persuaded  him  to  withdraw.  Among 
these  Napoleon  observed  Major  Philip  Segur  ;  to  him  he 
said,  ' '  Go,  Segur,  take  the  Poles,  and  make  them  take 
the  Spaniards,  or  let  the  Spaniards  take  them." 

Colonel  Pire,  having  informed  Kozietulski,  commander 
of  the  Polish  troops,  of  what  the  Emperor  had  said,  that 
officer  replied,  "Come  then  alone  with  me,  and  see  if  the 
devil  himself,  made  of  fire  as  he  is,  would  undertake  this 
business. ' ' 

Advancing,  they  saw  13,000  Spaniards  placed  as  if  in 
an  amphitheatre  in  such  a  way  that  no  one  battalion  was 
masked  by  another,  and  they  could  only  join  in  columns. 
From  that  point  the  Poles  had  to  sustain  forty  thousand 
discharges  of  musketry  and  as  many  of  cannon,  every 
minute.     However,  the  order  was  positive. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  265 

"Commandant,"  saidSegur,  "let  us  go,  it  is  the  Em- 
peror's wish ;  the  honors  will  be  ours ;  Poles  advance. 
Vive  r  Kmpereur  ! ' '  Napoleon  wished  to  teach  his  sol- 
diers that  with  the  Spaniards  they  must  not  consider 
danger,  but  drive  them  wherever  found. 

The  smoke  of  the  skirmishers  on  the  side  hills  mingled 
with  the  thick  fog  and  vapors  of  the  morning,  and  under  this 
veil  the  brave  cavalry  of  the  Guard  led  the  way  fearlessly 
and  rushed  up  the  ascent.  A  brilliant  cavalry  officer, 
General  Montbrun,  at  this  time  somewhat  out  of  favor 
with  the  Emperor,  advanced  at  the  head  of  the  Polish 
light  horse,  a  young  troop  of  elite  which  Napoleon  had 
formed  at  Warsaw  that  he  might  have  all  nations  and 
costumes  in  his  Guard.  General  Montbrun  with  those 
gallant  young  soldiers  dashed  at  a  gallop  upon  the  cannon 
of  the  Spaniards,  and  in  defiance  of  a  horrible  fire  of 
musketry.  The  first  squadron  received  a  discharge  which 
threw  it  into  disorder,  sweeping  down  thirty  or  forty  men 
in  the  ranks;  but  those  that  followed,  passing 
beyond  the  wounded,  reached  the  pieces,  cut  down  the 
gunners  and  took  all  the  cannon. 

As  the  rushing  steeds  passed  the  Spanish  infantry  the 
latter  fired  and  then  threw  down  their  guns,  abandoned  their 
intrenchments  and  fled.  The  brave  San  Juan,  covered 
with  blood,  having  received  several  wounds,  strove  in 
vain  to  stop  his  soldiers,  who  fled  to  the  right  and  to  the 
left  in  the  mountains,  leaving  colors,  artillery,  200  wagons 
with  stores  and  almost  all  the  officers  in  the  hands  of  the 
victors.  By  the  time  the  Emperor  reached  the  top  not 
only  was  the  French  flag  found  floating  over  Buitrago, 
but  Montbrun 's  cavalry  was  pursuing  the  routed  Spanish  a 
league  beyond  the  town. 


266  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Napoleon  was  delighted  to  have  proved  to  his  generals 
what  the  Spanish  insurgents  were,what  his  soldiers  were, 
and  in  what  estimation  both  were  to  be  held,  and  to  have 
overcome  an  obstacle  which  some  had  seemed  to  think  ex- 
tremely formidable.  The  Poles  had  about  fifty  men  killed 
or  wounded.  That  evening  Napoleon  complimented  and 
rewarded  the  survivors  and  included  in  the  distribu- 
tion of  his  favors  M.  Philippe  de  Segur  who  had  received 
several  shot  wounds  in  this  charge;  he  also  destined  him  to 
carry  to  the  lyCgislative  Body  at  Paris  the  colors  taken  at 
Somosierra  and  appointed  Montbrun  general  of  division. 

On  the  morning  of  the  2nd  three  divisions  of  French 
cavalry  made  their  appearance  on  the  high  ground  to  the 
north-west  of  the  capital.  The  inhabitants  of  Madrid  for 
eight  days  had  been  preparing  to  resist  an  invasion.  Six 
thousand  regular  troops  were  within  the  town,  and  crowds 
of  citizens  and  of  the  peasantry  of  the  adjacent  country 
were  in  arms  with  them.  The  pavement  had  been  taken, 
up,  the  streets  barricaded,  the  houses  on  the  outskirts 
loop-holed  and  occupied  by  a  strong  garrison.  Many  per- 
sons, suspected  of  adhering  to  the  side  "  of  the  French, 
were  put  to  death,  and  amid  the  ringing  of  the  bells  of 
churches  and  convents,  a  general  uprising  for  all  means 
of  defense  was  in  operation  when  the  French  cavalry 
appeared. 

The  day  was  the  anniversary  of  Napoleon's  coronation 
and  of  the  battle  of  Austerlitz,  and  for  the  Bmperor  as 
well  as  his  soldiers  a  superstition  was  attached  to  that 
memorable  date.  The  fine  cavalry,  on  beholding  its 
glorious  chief,  raised  unanimous  acclamations,  which 
mingled  with  the  shouts  of  rage  sent  up  by  the  Spaniards 
on  seeing  the  French  at  their  portals. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  267 

At  noon  the  town  was  summoned  to  open  its  gates.  The 
young  officer  carrying  the  message  barely  escaped  with 
his  Hfe,  the  mob  being  determined  to  massacre  him.  Only 
the  interference  of  the  Spanish  regulars  saved  his  life  by 
.snatching  him  out  of  the  hands  of  the  assassins.  The 
Junta  directed  a  Spanish  general  to  convey  a  negative 
answer  to  the  summons  of  the  French.  When  sent  back 
he  was  assured  that  firing  would  commence  immediately, 
although  told  that  in  resisting  they  would  only  expose  a 
population  of  women,  and  children  and  old  men  to  the 
slaughter,  and  was  informed  that  the  city  could  not  hold 
out  long  against  the  French  army. 

Napoleon  waited  until  his  artillery  and  infantry  came 
up  in  the  evening  and  then  the  place  was  invested  on  one 
side.  The  Kmperor  made  a  reconnaissance  himself  on 
horseback  around  Madrid  and  formed  the  plan  of  attack 
which  might  be  divided  into  several  successive  acts,  so  as 
to  summon  the  place  after  each  of  them,  and  to  reduce  it 
rather  by  intimidation  than  by  the  employment  of  formid- 
able military  means. 

At  midnight  the  city  was  again  summoned  and  the 
answer  still  being  defiant,  the  batteries  began  to  open. 
Terror  now  began  to  prevail  within,  and  shortly  afterward 
the  city  was  summoned  for  the  third  time.  Thomas  de 
Morla,  the  governor,  came  to  demand  a  suspension  of  arms. 
He  said  that  all  sensible  men  in  Madrid  were  convinced 
of  the  necessity  of  surrendering  ;  but  that  it  was  necessary 
to  make  the  French  troops  retire  and  allow  the  Junta  time 
to  pacify  the  people  and  to  induce  them  to  lay  down  their 
arms. 

Napoleon  replied  with  some  show  of  anger  that  Morla 
himself  had  excited  and  misled  the  people:  "Assemble 
the  clergy,  the  heads  of  the  convents,  the  alcaldes,    the 

18 


268  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

principal  proprietors, ' '  he  said  ' '  and  if  between  this  and 
six  in  the  morning  the  city  has  not  surrendered  it  shall 
have  ceased  to  exist.  I  neither  will  nor  ought  to  with- 
draw my  troops  .  .  .  Return  to  Madrid.  I  give  yoM  till  six 
tomorrow  morning.  Go  back,  then  ;  you  have  nothing 
to  say  to  me  about  the  people  but  to  tell  me  that  they  have 
submitted.  If  not,  you  and  your  troops  shall  be  put  to 
the  sword. ' ' 

Morla  returned  to  tb  town  and  urged  the  necessity  of 
instantly  capitulating,  \  which  all  the  authorities  but  Cos- 
tellas,  the  commander  Oi.  the  regular  troops  agreed.  The 
peasantry  and  citizens  continued  firing  on  the  French 
outposts  during  the  night  and  then  Costellas,  seeing  that 
further  resistance  was  useless,  withdrew  his  troops  and 
sixteen  cannon   in  safety. 

At  eight  o'  clock  on  the  morning  of  the  4th  Madrid 
surrendered.  The  Spaniards  were  at  once  disarmed  and 
the  French  troops  filled  the  town  and  established  them- 
selves in  the  great  buildings.  Napoleon  took  up  his  res- 
idence in  a  country  house  near  the  capital.  He  gave 
orders  for  a  general  and  immediate  disarming,  and  tran- 
quility was  once  more  restored,  the  shops  and  theatres 
being  opened  as  usual. 

Napoleon  now  exercised  all  the  rights  of  a  conqueror 
and  issued  edicts  abolishing,  among  other  evils,  the 
Inquisition  of  the  Jesuits,  as  well  as  the  feudal  institutions 
of  the  Middle  Ages.  He  received  a  deputation  of  the  chief 
inhabitants  who  came  to  signify  their  desire  to  see  his 
brother  Joseph  among  them  again.  His  answer  was  that 
Spain  was  his  own  by  right  of  conquest ;  that  he  could 
easily  rule  it  by  viceroys  ;  but  if  they  chose  to  assemble  in 
their  churches,  priests  and  people, and  swear  allegiance  to 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  269 

Joseph,  he  was  not  indisposed  to  listen  to  their  request. 
He  distinctly  affirmed  that  he  would,  in  case  they  proved 
disloyal,  put  the  crown  upon  his  own  head,  treat  the  country 
as  a  conqured  province  and  find  another  kingdom  for  his 
brother  :  "for  "  added  he,  '  'God  has  given  me  both  the 
inclination  and  the  power  to  surmount  all  obstacles. ' ' 

Meanwhile  Napoleon  was  making  arrangements  for 
the  completion  of  his  conquest.  His  plan  was  to  invade 
Andalusia,  Valencia  and  Galicia  by  his  lieutenants,  and 
march  in  person  to  Lisbon. 

On  learning  on  December  19th  that  the  English  army 
under  Sir  John  Moore, amounting  to  20,000,  men,  had  put 
itself  in  motion,  had  advanced  into  Spain  and  left  Salamanca 
to  proceed  to  Valladolid  ;  that  a  separate  British  corps 
of  13,000  men  under  Sir  David  Baird  had  recently  landed 
at  Corunna  with  orders  to  march  through  Galicia  and 
effect  a  junction  with  Moore, either  at  Salamanca  or  Val- 
ladolid, Napoleon  resolved  to  advance  in  person  and  over- 
whelm Moore.  His  resolution  was  instantly  taken  with 
that  promptness  of  decision  and  unerring  judgment 
which  never  forsook  him.  He  instantly  put  himself  at  the 
head  of  50,000  men  and  marched  with  incredible  rapidity, 
with  the  view  of  intercepting  Moore's  communications 
with  Portugal,  and  in  short  hemming  the  English  com- 
mander in  between  himself  and  Soult. 

Moore  no  sooner  heard  that  Napoleon  was  approaching 
than  he  perceived  the  necessity  of  an  immediate  retreat ; 
and  he  commenced,  accordingly,  a  most  calamitous  one 
through  the  naked  mountains  of  Galicia,  in  which  his 
troops  displaj^ed  a  most  lamentable  want  of  discipline. 
They  ill-treated  the  inhabitants,  straggled  from  their  ranks, 
and  in  short  lost  the  appearance  of  an  army  except  when 


270  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

the  trumpet  warned  them  that  they  might  expect  the 
French  to  charge. 

L/caving  Chamartin  on  the  morning  of  the  22nd.  of 
December  Napoleon  arrived  at  the  foot  of  the  Guadarrama 
as  the  infantry  of  his  Guard  was  beginning  to  ascend 
it.  The  weather,  which  till  then  had  been  superb,  had 
suddenly  become  terrible,  and  at  the  very  moment  when 
forced  marches  were  to  be  performed,  as  it  was  necessary 
that  they  lose  no  time  in  coming  up  with  the  English. 

Napoleon,  seeingtheinfantry  of  his  Guard  accumulating 
at  the  entrance  of  the  gorge,  in  which  the  gun-carriages 
were  also  crowded  together,  spurred  his  horse  into  a 
gallop,  and  gained  the  head  of  the  column  which  he  found 
detained  by  the  hurricane.  The  peasants  declared  that  it 
was  impossible  to  pass  without  being  exposed  to  the 
greatest  dangers.  This,  however,  was  not  sufl&cient  to 
stop  the  conqueror  of  the  Alps.  He  made  the  chasseurs 
of  his  Guard  dismount,  and  ordered  them  to  advance  first 
in  close  column,  conducted  by  guides.  These  bold  fellows, 
marching  at  the  head  of  the  army,  and  trampling  down 
the  snow  with  their  own  feet  and  those  of  their  horses, 
formed  a  beaten  track  for  the  troops  who  followed. 

The  Emperor  himself  climbed  the  mountain  on  foot, 
amidst  the  chasseurs  of  his  Guard,  merely  leaning,  when 
he  felt  fatigued,  on  the  arm  of  General  Savary.  The  cold, 
which  was  as  severe  as  at  Eylau,  did  not  prevent  him 
from  crossing  the  Guadarrama.  General  Marbot,  who 
accompanied  Napoleon  on  the  journey,  says  in  his  "  Me- 
moirs" :  "A  furious  snowstorm,  with  a  fierce  wind, 
made  the  passage  of  the  mountains  almost  impracti- 
cable. Men  and  horses  were  hurled  over  preci- 
pices.    The   leading  battalions    had  actually    begun   to 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  271 

retreat ;  but  Napoleon  was  resolved  to  overtake  the  Eng- 
lish at  all  cost.  He  spoke  to  the  men,  and  ordered  that 
the  members  of  each  section  should  hold  one  another  by  the 
arm.  The  cavalry,  dismounting,  did  the  same.  The  staff 
was  formed  in  similar  fashion,  the  Emperor  between 
I^annes  and  Duroc,  we  following  with  locked  arms  ;  and 
so,  in  spite  of  wind,  snow  and  ice,  we  proceeded,  though 
it  took  us  four  hours  to  reach  the  top.  Half  way  up  the 
marshals  and  generals,  who  wore  jackboots,  could  go  no 
farther.  Napoleon,  therefore,  got  hoisted  on  to  a  gun, 
and  bestrode  it ;  the  marshals  and  generals  did  the  same, 
and  in  this  grotesque  order  they  reached  the  convent  at  the 
summit.  There  the  troops  were  rested  and  wine  served 
out.     The  descent  though  awkward,  was  better. ' ' 

Napoleon  spent  the  night  in  a  miserable  post-house  in 
the  little  village  of  Espinar.  On  the  mules  laden  with 
his  baggage  had  been  brought  the  wherewithal  to  serve 
him  with  supper,  and  which  he  shared  with  his  officers, 
cheerfully  conversing  with  them  on  that  series  of  extra- 
ordinary adventures  which  had  commenced  at  the  school  of 
Brienne — to  end,  he  knew  not  where  ! 

Next  day  the  Emperor  proceeded  with  his  Guard  ;  but 
the  infantry  advanced  with  difficulty  and  the  artillery 
c'ould  not  stir  owing  to  the  frightful  quagmires.  The 
stragglers  and  baggage  came  up  slowly  while  Napoleon, 
anxious  to  meet  the  fleeing  English  troops,  pushed 
on  with  his  advance  guard  and  with  his  chasseurs  until 
Benevento  was  reached.  Here  he  came  up  with  his  own 
troops  in  pursuit  of  Moore  at  Benevento,  on  the  29th  of 
December, and  enjoyed  for  a  moment, from  his  headquarters 
established  there,  the  spectacle  of  the  English  army  in  full 
retreat. 


272  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  French  columns  seemed  to  rival  each  other  in  their 
efforts  to  overtake  the  enemy.  In  their  precipitation  the 
English  abandoned  their  sick,  hamstrung  their  horses, 
when  unable  to  keep  up  with  them,  and  destroyed  the 
greater  part  of  their  ammunition  and  baggage. 

Marshal  Soult,  who  had  taken  another  road,  was  much 
nearer  the  enemy.  His  orders  to  follow  the  English 
intermission  were  difficult  of  accomplishing  as  the  mud  was 
deep  and  the  soldiers  sank  up  to  their  knees. 

Napoleon  now  decided  that  Moore  was  no  longer  worthy 
of  his  own  attention  and  intrusted  the  consummation  of  his 
ruin  to  Soult,  who  was  ordered  to  pursue  the  English  to  the 
lastextremity,  and  "with  his  sword  at  their  loins. ' '  He  there- 
fore set  out  at  once,  his  troops  marching  past  the  Emperor. 

Soult  hung  close  on  the  rear  of  the  English;  he  came  up 
with  them  in  the  mountains  of  Leon  and  continued  to 
pursue  them  until  they  reached  the  port  of  Corunna.  Here 
Moore  preceived  that  it  would  be  imposible  to  embark  with- 
out a  convention  or  battle  and  he  chose  the  latter.  The 
attack  was  made  by  the  French  on  the  1 6th  of  January  in 
heavy  columns  and  with  their  usual  vivacity  ;  but  it  was 
sustained  and  repelled  by  the  English  and  they  were  per- 
mitted to  embark  without  further  molestation.  Sir  John 
Moore  fell  in  the  action  mortally  wounded  by  a  cannon 
shot.  His  body  was  wrapped  in  a  military  cloak,  instead 
of  the  usual  vestments  of  the  tomb,  and  deposited  in  a 
grave  hastily  dug  on  the  ramparts  of  the  citadel  of  Cor- 
unna, while  the  guns  of  the  enemy  paid  him  funeral 
honors.  The  next  morning  the  genadiers  of  France,  who 
had  been  struck  with  admiration  at  the  chivalry  of  the 
English  commander,  gathered  reverently  around  the  new- 
made  grave,  and  while  the  EngUsh  fleet  was  yet  visible  on 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  273 

the  bosom  of  the  Mediterranean,  they  erected  a  monument 
over  his  body  and  placed  thereon  an  appropriate 
inscription. 

Napoleon,  having  been  informed  of  the  embarkation  of 
the  English  army,  instead  of  returning  to  Madrid  to  com- 
plete his  Spanish  conquest,  proceeded  at  once  towards 
Astorga  where  his  fears  with  reference  to  Austria  were 
heightened  by  news  from  Paris  by  courier.  The  storm 
that  was  gathering  once  more  along  the  shores  of  the 
Danube  was  of  more  vital  consequence  to  France  than  the 
kingdom  of  Joseph  Bonaparte.  On  his  arrival  at  Astorga 
he  changed  all  his  plans.  "It  was  late  at  night  when 
the  Emperor  and  I/annes,  escorted  only  by  their  staffs,  and 
some  hundred  cavalry,  entered  Astorga,"  says  General 
Marbot.  ' '  So  tired  and  anxious  for  shelter  and  warmth 
was  everyone  that  the  place  was  scarcely  searched.  If 
the  enemy  had  had  warning  of  this,  and  returned  on  their 
tracks,  they  might  perhaps  have  carried  off  the  Emperor  ; 
fortunately  they  were  in  too  great  a  hurry,  and  we  did  not 
find  one  of  them  in  the  town.  Every  minute  fresh  bodies 
of  French  troops  were  coming  up  and  the  safety  of  the 
Imperial  headquarters  was  soon  secured. ' ' 

Proceeding  to  Valladolid  with  his  Guard,  which  he  wished 
to  keep  as  near  to  events  in  Germany  as  himself,  after 
placing  Joseph  on  the  throne  at  Madrid  again,  he  soon 
afterwards  hastened  to  Paris  with  all  speed,  riding  on  post 
horses  on  one  occasion  not  less  than  eighty-five  miles 
in  five  and  one-half  hours.  He  had  traversed  Spain  with 
the  rapidity  of  lightning,  followed  by  his  Guard,  to  the 
spot  where  new  dangers  and  triumphs  awaited  him.  He 
left  behind  a  feeble  king,  equally  as  incapable  of  keeping 
as  obtaining  a  conquest ;  and  marshals  who,  no  longer 


274  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

restrained  by  the  presence  of  an  inflexible  chief,  for  the 
most  part  delivered  themselves  over  to  their  own  self-love 
or  private  jealousies. 

In  his  * '  Memorial ' '  written  in  exile  at '  St.  Helena, 
Napoleon  said  "  that  the  war  of  Spain  destroyed  him,  and 
that  all  the  circumstances  of  his  disasters  connect  them- 
selves with  this  fatal  knot. "  "In  the  crisis  France  was 
placed  in,"  he  said  at  another  time,  "in  the  struggle  of 
new  ideas  in  the  great  cause  of  the  age  against  the  rest  of 
Europe,  we  could  not  leave  Spain  behind. ' ' 


X 

WAR  WITH  AUSTRIA,   1809. 

Before  Napoleon  returned  to  Paris  from  Spain  he  learned 
that,  yielding  to  England's  instigations,  Austria  was 
about  to  take  advantage  of  his  being  so  far  away,  to  cross 
its  borders,  invade  Bavaria,  carry  the  war  to  the  banks  of 
the  Rhine,  and  then  effect  the  liberation  of  Germany. 
The  opportunity  was  an  excellent  one  for  attempting  such 
an  undertaking.  The  Emperor  had  been  compelled  to 
send  the  pick  of  his  battalions  to  the  other  side  of  the 
Pyrenees,  thus  greatly  reducing  the  number  of  French 
foes  in  Germany.  The  French  minister  of  foreign  affairs, 
Talleyrand,  had  during  Napoleon's  absence  made  every 
effort  to  conciliate  the  Emperor  Francis,  but  the  warlike 
preparations  throughout  the  Austrian  dominions  pro- 
ceeded  with  increasing  vigor. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  275 

After  the  declaration  of  war  by  Austria  on  the  6th  of 
April,  couriers  were  at  once  dispatched  with  orders  to 
the  armies  on  the  Rhine,  and  beyond  the  Alps,  to  concen- 
trate themselves  on  the  field.  To  the  ambassadors  at 
Paris  the  Bmpercr  spoke  most  freely  of  the  coming  con- 
quest. ' '  They  have  forgotten  the  lessons  of  experience 
there, ' '  he  said  ;  ' '  They  want  fresh  ones  ;  they  shall  have 
them,  and  this  time  they  shall  be  terrible  I  promise  you. 
I  do  not  desire  war ;  I  have  no  interest  in  it,  and  all 
Europe  is  witness  that  my  whole  attention  and  all  my 
efforts  were  directed  towards  the  field  of  battle  which 
England  had  selected,  that  is  to  say,  Spain.  Austria, 
which  saved  the  English  in  1805  when  I  was  about  to 
cross  the  straits  of  Calais,  has  saved  them  once 
more  by  stopping  me  when  I  was  about  to  pursue 
them  to  Corunna.  She  shall  pay  dearly  for  this  new 
diversion  in  their  favor.  Either  she  shall  disarm  in- 
stantly, or  she  shall  have  to  sustain  a  war  of  destruction. 
If  she  disarms  in  such  a  manner  as  to  leave  no  doubt  on 
my  mind  as  to  her  further  intentions,  I  will  myself  sheathe 
my  sword,  for  I  have  no  wish  to  draw  it  except  in  Spain 
against  the  English  ;  otherwise  the  conflict  shall  be  imme- 
diate and  decisive,  and  such  that  England  shall  for  the 
future  have  no  allies  on  the  Continent. ' ' 

The  instant  Napoleon  ascertained  that  Bavaria  was 
invaded  by  the  Archduke  Charles,  he  at  once  proceeded, 
without  guards,  without  equipage,  accompanied  solely  by 
the  faithful  Josephine,  to  Frankfort  and  thence  to  Stras- 
bourg. Here  he  assumed  command  of  the  army  on  the 
13th  of  April,  and  immediately  formed  the  plan  of  his 
campaign.  He  found  the  two  wings  of  his  army,  the  one 
under   Massena,  the  other  under  Davoust,  at  such  a  dis- 


276  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

tance  from  the  centre  that,  had  the  Austrians  seized  the 
opportunity,  the  consequences  might  have  been  fatal  to 
the  French. 

On  the  17th  of  April,  while  at  Donawerth,  Napoleon 
commanded  Davoust  and  Massena  to  march  simultane- 
ously towards  a  position  in  front,  and  then  pushed  forward 
the  centre  in  person,  to  the  same  point.  The  Archduke 
I^ouis,  who  commanded  the  Austrian  divisions  in 
advance,  was  thus  hemmed  in  unexpectedly  by  three 
armies,  moving  at  once  from  three  different  points. 

At  Donawerth  Napoleon  addressed  his  troops  in  a  procla- 
mation in  which  he  said:  "  Soldiers,  the  territory  of  the 
Confederation  has  been  violated.  The  Austrian  general 
expects  us  to  fly  at  the  sight  of  his  arms,  and  to  abandon 
our  allies  to  him.  I  arrive  with  the  rapidity  of  lightning. 
Soldiers,  I  was  surrounded  by  you  when  the  sovereign 
of  Austria  came  to  my  camp  in  Moravia  ;  you  have  heard 
him  implore  my  clemency,  and  swear  an  eternal  friendship 
towards  me.  Victors,  in  three  wars  Austria  has  owed 
everything  to  your  generosity ;  three  times  has  she  per- 
jured herself.  Our  past  successes  are  a  safe  guarantee  of 
the  victory  which  awaits  us.  Let  us  march,  and  at  our 
aspect  may  the  enemy  acknowledge  his  conqueror. ' ' 

It  should  be  remembered  that  at  this  time,  while 
Napoleon  was  astonishing  Europe  by  the  rapidity  of  his 
movements,  and  the  display  of  the  resources  of  his 
military  and  political  genius,  he  had  left  an  army  in  the 
Peninsula,  distributed  over  an  immense  space  of  territory, 
weakened  by  diseases,  reduced  by  partial  combats,  and 
without  receiving  reinforcements  from  the  interior  of  the 
Empire.  During  the  whole  of  the  German  campaign  of 
1809,  the  French  in  Spain  were  merely  able  to  maintain 


'NAPOLEON  THE  GREA  T  277 

themselves  in  the  positions  they  had  occupied  soon  after 
Napoleon's  departure. 

Austria  had  reckoned  on  the  absence  of  Napoleon  and 
his  Guard,  and  on  the  veteran  troops  of  Marengo  and  Aus- 
terlitz  being  far  distant.  She  knew  that  there  did  not  remain 
more  than  80,000  French  scattered  throughout  Germany, 
while  her  army  divided  into  nine  bodies,  under  the  orders 
of  the  Archduke  Charles,  had  not  less  than  500,000  men. 

The  Archduke  Louis  was  defeated  and  driven  back  at 
Abensberg  on  the  20th,  and  utterly  routed  at  I^andshut 
on  the  2 1  St,  losing  9,000  men,  thirty  guns  and  all  his 
stores.  Those  unfortunate  Austrians  who  had  been  led 
from  Vienna  singing  songs,  under  a  persuasion  that 
there  was  no  longer  a  French  army  in  Germany,  and  that 
they  should  only  have  to  deal  with  Wurtemburgers  and 
Bavarians,  experienced  the  greatest  terror  when  they 
came  to  conflict  and  found  themselves  defeated.  The 
Prince  of  lyichtenstein  and  General  Lusignan,  were 
wounded,  while  the  loss  of  the  Austrians  in  colonels,  and 
ofiicers,of  lower  rank  was  considerable. 

In  the  battle  of  Abensberg  which  occurred  on  the  20th, 
Napoleon  was  resolved  to  destroy  the  corps  of  the  Arch- 
duke lyouis,  and  of  General  Keller,  amounting  to  sixty 
thousand  men.  The  enemy  only  stood  his  ground  for  an 
hour  and  left  eighteen  thousand  prisoners.  The  cannonade 
of  the  French  was  successful  at  all  points  and  the  Aus- 
trians, disconcerted  by  Napoleon's  brilliant  movements, 
beat  a  hasty  retreat  leaving  eight  standards  and  twelve 
pieces  of  cannon.     The  French  loss  was  very  small. 

Before  this  engagement  Napoleon  saw  defile  before  him 
on  the  plateau  in  front  of  Abensberg  the  Wurtemberg  and 
Bavarian  troops,  allies  of   the  French,  who  were  going  to 


278  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

put  themselves  in  line  and  whom  the  pride  of  fighting 
under  a  general  of  his  renown  filled  with  enthusiasm. 
The  Kmperor  caused  them  to  be  drawn  up  and  proceeded 
to  harangue  them,  one  after  the  other,  the  officers  trans- 
lating his  words  to  the  troops.  He  said  that  he 
was  making  them  fight,  not  for  himself,  but  for 
themselves;  against  the  ambition  of  the  house  of 
Austria,  which  was  enraged  at  not  having  them,  as 
of  yore,  under  its  yoke ;  that  this  time  he  would 
soon  restore  them  peace,  and  forever,  and  with  such  an 
increase  of  power  that  for  the  future  they  should  be  able 
to  defend  themselves  against  the  pretensions  of  their  old 
dominators.  His  presence  and  words  electrified  his 
German  allies,  who  were  flattered  to  see  him  amongst 
them,  he  trusting  entirely  to  their  honor,  for  at  that 
moment  he  had  no  other  escort  than  some  detachments  of 
Bavarian  cavalry. 

When  Napoleon  arrived  that  evening  at  Rotterburg  he 
was  intoxicated  with  joy.  The  engagement,  which  was 
of  short  duration,  had  cost  the  Austrians  7,000  or  8,000 
men,  and  he  saw  his  adversary  driven  back  on  the  Iser 
at  the  very  beginning  of  the  campaign,  and  the  Austrian 
soldiers  disheartened,  like  the  Prussians  after  Jena. 

The  battle  of  I^andshut  completed  the  defeat  of  the 
preceding  evening.  On  this  day  General  Mouton,  at  the 
head  of  a  column  of  grenadiers  rushed  through  the 
flames  that  were  consuming  one  of  the  bridges  of  the  Iser; 
"Forward,  but  reserve  your  fire!"  he  shouted  to  the 
soldiers  in  a  voice  of  thunder  ;  and  in  a  few  moments  he 
had  penetrated  into  the  town,  which  then  became  the  seat 
of  a  sanguinary  struggle,  and  which  the  Austrians  were 
not  long  in  abandoning. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  279 

Next  day  Napoleon  executed  a  variety  of  manoeuvres, 
considered  as  amongst  the  most  admirable  of  his  science, 
by  means  of  which  he  brought  his  whole  force,  by  dif- 
ferent routes,  at  one  and  the  same  moment  upon  the 
position  of  the  Archduke  Charles,  who  was  strongly 
posted  at  Kckmuhl  with  100,000  men.  On  both  sides  all 
was  ready  for  a  decisive  action.  Until  8  o'clock  a  thick 
fog  enveloped  that  rural  scene  which  was  soon  to  be 
drenched  with  the  blood  of  thousands  of  men.  As  soon 
as  it  cleared  away  both  sides  prepar'ed  for  action.  Not  a 
musket  or  a  cannon  shot  was  fired  before  noon,  how- 
ever. 

There  was  no  need  of  a  signal  for  battle  as  the  terrible 
contest  began  on  both  sides  simultaneously  about  2  o'clock 
in  the  afternoon,  Napoleon  commanding  and  leading  the 
charge,  and  accompanied  by  I^annes  and  Massena.  One 
of  the  most  beautiful  sights  war  could  produce  now  pre- 
sented itself;  one  hundred  and  ten  thousand  men  were 
attacked  on  all  points,  turned  to  their  left,  and  succes- 
sively driven  from  all  their  positions,  although  not  a  half 
of  the  French  troops  were  engaged.  The  battle  was 
stern  and  lasted  until  twilight,  ending  with  the  utter 
defeat  of  the  Archduke's  army,  and  leaving  Napoleon 
"with  20,000  prisoners,  fifteen  imperial  standards  and  a 
vast  number  of  cannon  in  his  hands,  while  the  defeated 
and  routed  enemy  fled  back  in  confusion  on  the  city  of 
Ratisbon.  The  Austrian  cavalry,  strong  and  numerous, 
attempted  to  cover  the  retreat  of  the  infantry,  but  was 
attacked  by  the  French  both  on  the  right  and  left.  The 
Archduke  Charles  was  only  indebted  for  his  safety  to  the 
fleetness  of  his  horse,  when  darkness  at  length  compelled 
the  victors  to  halt. 


28o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

"While  the  French  were  galloping  along  the  road  in 
pursuit  ot  the  Austrians,  finding  the  plain  to  which  they 
had  retreated  swampy,  they  endeavored  to  regain  the  road, 
and  thus  became  mingled  with  the  mass  of  victorious 
cavalry.  A  multitude  of  single  combats  then  took  place 
by  the  uncertain  light  of  the  moon,  and  nothing  was 
heard  but  the  clashing  of  sabres  on  their  cuirasses,  the 
shouts  of  the  commandants,  and  the  heavy  tramp  of 
horses.  The  French  cuirassiers,  wearing  double  cuirasses, 
which  covered  them  all  round,  could  more  easily  defend 
themselves  than  the  Austrians,  who,  having  only  breast- 
plates, fell  in  great  numbers,  mortally  wounded  by  the 
thrusts  dealt  them  from  behind.  Night  put  an  end  to  a 
contest  where  there  were  scenes  of  carnage  that  had  not 
been  equalled  in  years. 

At  the  battle  of  Abensberg  the  Emperor  beat  separately 
the  two  corps  of  the  Archduke  lyouis  and  General  Keller  ; 
at  the  battle  of  lyandshut  he  took  the  centre  of  their  com- 
munications and  the  general  depot  of  their  magazines  and 
artillery;  and,  finally,  at  the  battle  of  Bckmuhl,  the  corps 
of  HohenzoUern,  Rosenberg,  and  Lichtenstein,  were 
defeated. 

The  Austrians,  astonished  by  rapid  movements  beyond 
their  calculation,  were  soon  deprived  of  their  sanguine 
hopes,  and  precipitated  from  a  delirium  of  presumption  to 
a  despondency  bordering  on  despair.  Two  days  later  the 
Archduke  made  an  attempt  to  rally  his  troops,  and  not 
only  to  hold  Ratisbon,  but  to  meet  Napoleon.  He  was 
obliged  to  give  up  the  place  at  the  storming  of  the  walls 
by  the  French,  who  drove  the  Austrians  through  the 
streets.  All  who  resisted  were  slain.  The  enemy's  com- 
mander fled  precipitately  into  Bohemia,  abandoning  once 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  281 

more  tlie  capital  of  the  Austrian  Empire  to  the  mercy  of 
the  Conqueror. 

Napoleon  was  wounded  in  the  foot  during  the  storming 
of  Ratisbon.  He  had  approached  the  town  amidst  a  fire 
of  sharpshooters  kept  up  by  the  Austrians  from  the  walls, 
and  by  the  French  from  the  edge  of  a  ditch.  Whilst  he 
was  looking  through  a  telescope  he  received  a  ball  in  the 
instep,  and  said,  with  the  coolness  of  an  old  soldier  :  "  I 
am  hit ! ' '  When  the  Emperor  received  his  wound  he  was 
talking  with  Duroc.  "This,"  said  he  to  his  marshal, 
'  *  can  only  come  from  a  Tyrolian  ;  no  other  marksman 
could  take  an  aim  at  such  a  distance  ;  those  fellows  are 
very  clever. ' ' 

The  wound  might  have  been  dangerous  for  had  it 
been  higher  up  the  foot  would  have  been  shattered  and 
amputation  inevitable.  The  first  surgeon  of  the  Guard, 
Dr.  I^arrey,  being  near  took  off  his  boot  and  prepared  to 
dress  the  wound,  which  was  not  serious. 

At  the  news  that  the  Emperor  was  wounded  the  troops 
crowded  around  him  in  great  alarm.  Officers  and  soldiers 
ran  up  from  all  sides  ;  in  a  moment  he  was  surrounded 
by  thousands  of  men,  in  spite  of  the  fire  which  the  enemy's 
guns  concentrated  on  the  vast  group.  The  Emperor, 
wishing  to  withdraw  his  troops  from  this  useless  danger, 
and  to  calm  the  anxiety  of  the  more  distant  corps  who 
were  getting  unsteady  in  their  desire  to  come  and  see  what 
was  the  matter,  mounted  his  horse  the  instant  his  wound 
was  dressed  and  rode  down  the  front  of  the  whole  line 
amid  loud  cheers.  Those  around  remonstrated  with  him 
for  continually  exposing  his  person,  to  which  he  replied  : 
"  What  can  I  do  ?  I  must  see  how  things  are  going  on." 

' '  It  was  at  this  extempore  review, ' '  says  General  Mar- 


282  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

bot,  "  held  in  presence  of  the  enemy,  that  Napoleon  first 
granted  gratuities  to  private  soldiers,  appointing  them 
Knights  of  the  Empire  and  members,  at  the  same  time,  of 
the  Legion  of  Honor.  The  regimental  commanders  recom- 
mended, but  the  Emperor  also  allowed  soldiers  who  thought 
they  had  claims,  to  come  and  represent  them  before  him  ; 
he  then  decided  upon  them  himself." 

An  old  grenadier,  who  had  made  the  campaigns  of 
Italy  and  Egypt,  not  hearing  his  name  called,  came  up, 
and  in  a  calm  tone  of  voice  asked  for  the  cross. 

"But,"  said  Napoleon,  "what  have  you  done  to 
deserve  it?" 

"It  was  I,  sir,  who,  in  the  desert  of  Joppa,  when  it 
was  so  terribly  hot,  gave  you  a  watermelon!" 

"I  thank  you  for  it  again,"  said  the  Emperor,  "but 
the  gift  of  the  fruit  is  hardly  worth  the  cross  of  the 
Legion  of  Honor."  Then  the  grenadier,  who  up  till 
then  had  been  as  cool  as  ice,  working  himself  up  into  a 
frenzy,  shouted  at  the  top  of  his  voice,  "  Well,  and  don't 
you  reckon  seven  wounds  received  at  the  bridge  of  Areola, 
at  Eodi,  at  Castiglione,  at  the  Pyramids,  at  Acre,  Aus- 
terlitz,  Friedland ;  eleven  campaigns  in  Italy,  Egypt, 
Austria,  Prussia,  Poland — ." 

But  the  Emperor  cut  him  short  laughing,  and  mimicking 
his  excited  manner,  cried; — "There,  there,  how  you 
work  yourself  up  when  3^ou  come  to  the  essential  point! 
That  is  where  you  ought  to  have  begun ;  it  is  worth  much 
more  than  your  melon.  I  make  you  a  Knight  of  the 
Empire,  with  a  pension  of  1200  francs.  Does  that 
satisfy  you?" 

"But  your  Majesty,  I  prefer  the  cross." 

' '  You  have  both  one  and  the  other  since  I  make  you  a 
Knight." 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  283 

"  Well,  I  would  rather  have  the  cross,"  and  the  worthy 
grenadier  could  not  be  moved  from  that  point.  It  took 
much  explaining  to  make  him  understand  that  the  title 
of  Knight  of  the  Empire  carried  with  it  the  Legion  of 
Honor.  He  was  not  appeased  on  this  point  until  the 
Kmperor  had  fastened  the  decoration  on  his  breast,  and 
he  seemed  to  think  a  great  deal  more  of  this  than  of  his 
annuity  of  1200  francs. 

It  was  by  familiarities  of  this  kind  that  the  Emperor 
made  the  soldiers  adore  him, but  as  Marbot  again  well  says, 
it  was  a  means  that  was  only  available  to  a  commander 
whom  frequent  victories  had  made  illustrious  ;  any  other 
general  would  have  impaired  his  reputation  by  it. 

Napoleon  now  sent  an  aide-de-camp  to  Lannes  urging 
him  to  expedite  the  taking  of  Ratisbon.  This  intrepid 
marshal  had  directed  all  his  artillery  against  a  project- 
ing house  which  rose  above  the  wall  surrounding  the 
town.  The  house  was  knocked  down  and  the  ruins 
fell  into  the  ditch.  Still  there  were  two  fortified  positions 
to  take.  Ladders  were  procured  and  placed  at  the 
critical  points  by  the  grenadiers,  but  every  time  one  of 
them  appeared  he  was  instantly  brought  down  by  the 
well-aimed  balls  of  the  Austrian  sharpshooters.  After 
some  men  had  been  thus  struck,  the  rest  appeared  to  hang 
back.  Thereupon  I^annes  advanced,  covered  with  deco- 
rations, seized  one  of  the  ladders  and  cried  out:  "You 
shall  see  that  your  marshal,  for  all  he  is  a  marshal,  has 
not  ceased  to  be  a  grenadier !"  Two  aides-de-camp 
sprang  forward  and  snatched  the  ladder  out  of  his  hands, 
and  the  grenadiers  followed  them,  took  the  ladders, and, 
notwithstanding  the  continued  fire  of  the  sharpshooters, 
made  the  crossing  in  safety,  followed  by  hundreds  of 
others  in  an  instant. 

19 


284  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  walls  being  scaled,  the  town  was  soon  in  the  hands 
of  the  French,  who  rushed  along  the  blazing  streets  taking 
prisoners  in  all  directions.  Suddenly  they  were  stopped 
with  a  cry  of  terror  uttered  by  the  Austrians  ;  ' '  Take  care, 
we  shall  all  be  blown  up  !  "  shouted  an  officer.  There 
were  some  barrels  of  powder  left  in  the  street  which  were  in 
danger  of  being  fired  by  the  shots  exchanged  on  either 
side.  The  belligerents  stopped  with  one  accord  and  joined 
hands  in  removing  the  barrels  to  a  place  of  safety.  The 
Austrians  then  withdrew  and  left  the  town  to  the  French 
troops. 

After  the  taking  of  Ratisbon  Napoleon  issued  an  address 
to  his  soldiers  complimenting  them  highly  on  their  valor. 
"  You  have  justified  my  expectations,"  he  said.  "You 
have  made  up  for  numbers  by  your  courage  ;  you  have 
gloriously  marked  the  difference  which  exists  between 
the  soldiers  of  Caesar  and  the  armies  of  Xerxes.  In  a  few 
days  we  have  triumphed  in  the  three  battles  of  Tann, 
Abensberg  and  Eckmuhl,  and  the  affairs  of  Peising, 
I^andshut  and  Ratisbon.  One  hundred  pieces  of  cannon, 
fifty  thousand  prisoners,  three  equipages,  three  thousand 
baggage  wagons,  all  the  funds  of  the  regiments,  are  the 
results  of  the  rapidity  of  your  marches,  and  of  your 
courage.  .  .  .  Before  a  month  we  shall  be  in 
Vienna  ! ' ' 

Thus  in  five  days,  in  spite  of  inferiority  of  numbers  and 
of  the  unfavorable  manner  in  which  his  lieutenants  had 
distributed  an  inferior  force;  by  the  sole  energy  of  his 
genius,  did  Napoleon  triumph  over  the  main  force  of  his 
opponent.  The  Emperor  reviewed  his  army  on  the  24th, 
distributing  rewards  of  all  sorts  with  a  lavish  hand.  Upon 
Davoust  he  bestowed  the  title  of  Duke  of  Eckmuhl. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  285 

On  May  3rd  a  body  of  30,000  Austrians  remaining  from 
the  army  of  lyandshut,  fell  back  upon  Kbersberg,  where 
Massena  engaged  in  a  stubborn  battle,  General  Claparede 
being  obliged  to  defend  himself  for  three  hours  with  but 
7,000  men  against  30,000  Austrians.  Reinforcements  at 
last  arrived  and  the  enemy  retired  in  disorder  upon  the 
Ens,  where  they  burned  the  bridge  so  as  to  protect  their 
flight  in  the  direction  of  Vienna.  The  battle  cost  the 
Austrians  12,000  men,  of  whom  7,500  were  prisoners. 
The  field  of  carnage  was  hideous,  and  the  town  of  Kbers- 
berg was  so  wrapped  in  flames  that  the  wounded  could 
not  be  withdrawn.  To  prevent  the  fire  from  reaching  the 
bridge  it  had  been  necessary  to  cut  off  the  approach  at 
either  end,  so  that  communication  was  interrupted  for 
several  hours  between  the  troops  who  had  crossed  the  river 
and  those  coming  to  their  aid.  Napoleon  had  galloped  up 
on  hearing  the  cannonade,  and  though  inured  to  all  the 
horrors  of  war,  is  said  to  have  been  greatly  shocked  at  the 
sight  he  beheld. 

Passing  before  the  ruins  of  the  castle  of  Dirnstein,  on 
an  eminence  beyond  the  Molck,  and  in  the  direction  of 
Vienna,  whither  he  was  going,  Napoleon  said  to  Marshal 
Lannes,  who  was  at  his  side  :  "  lyook  !  Behold  the  prison 
of  Richard  Coeur  de  I^ion.  I^ike  us,  he  went  to  Syria 
and  Palestine.  Coeur  de  lyion,  my  brave  L^annes,  was  not 
braver  than  thou.  He  was  more  fortunate  than  I  at  St. 
Jean  d'Acre.  The  Duke  of  Austria  sold  him  to  an  empe- 
ror of  Germany  who  had  him  imprisoned  there.  That 
was  in  the  barbarous  ages.  How  different  to  our  own 
civilization !  You  have  seen  how  I  treat  the  Emperor  of 
Austria,  whom  I  could  have  taken  prisoner.  Ah  !  well ! 
I  shall  treat  him  again  in  the  same  manner.  It  is  not  my 
wish,  but  that  of  the  age  !  " 


286  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

From  Molck  the  headquarters  of  the  Emperor  were 
transferred  to  St.  Pol  ten  and  two  days  later,  at  9  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  Napoleon  was  at  Vienna,  which  he  desired 
to  take  forthwith,  but  to  take  without  destroying  if 
possible. 

Meeting  with  resistance  in  entering  the  city,  the  inhab- 
itants having  prepared  for  a  vigorous  defense,  Napoleon 
began  to  play  with  his  heavy  batteries  upon  the  city. 
The  bombardment  soon  convinced  them  that  it  was  hope- 
less to  resist,  and  Vienna  surrendered  May  12th  after 
suffering  severely.  In  a  few  hours  eighteen  hundred 
shells  had  fallen  in  the  city.  The  streets  were  narrow, 
the  houses  high,  and  the  population  crowded  within  the 
narrow  fortifications,  were  terrified  and  infuriated  at  the 
sight  of  the  damage  caused  by  the  shells  which  started 
fires  in  every  direction.  Who  would  have  said  to  the 
Viennese,  who  were  then  hurling  all  manner  of  impreca- 
tions at  Napolec>n,  the  author  of  all  their  woes,  that  ten 
months  later  they  would  be  singing  the  praise  of  this 
detested  Emperor,  and  would  be  voluntarily  setting 
French  flags  in  their  windows  as  symbols  of  friendship  ? 

All  the  royal  family  had  fled  except  the  young  Arch- 
duchess Marie  lyOuise,  who  was  detained  in  the  palace, 
suffering  from  small-pox.  When  Napoleon  heard  she 
was  sequestered  there  he  ordered  that  no  battery  should 
be  directed  to  that  part  of  the  town  in  which  lay  she  who 
was  destined  to  be  his  bride  within  less  than  a  year!  At 
this  time  Napoleon  himself  would  no  doubt  have  laughed 
heartily  had  he  been  told  that  in  that  palace  was  a  woman 
who  was  to  succeed  Josephine  in  his  struggle  for  a 
dynasty,  to  be  Empress  of  the  French,  and  later,  to  bear 
him  the  long  wished  for  son  and  heir. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  287 

That  Marie  had  no  such  thoughts  or  incling^ions  can 
readily  be  guessed  from  the  fact  of  the  present  campaign 
in  which  her  father,  the  Emperor,  was  battling  for  his 
Empire.  The  Emperor  Francis  had  left  his  capital  on 
April  8th,  1809,  leaving  there  his  wife  and  children,  but 
all  of  whom  departed,  except  Marie,  on  May  5th,  From 
Vienna  Marie  wrote  frequently  to  her  father.  A  rumor 
had  reached  the  capital  that  the  battle  of  Eckmuhl  had 
been  a  brilliant  victory  for  the  Austrians,  and  the  young 
Archduchess  wrote  to  her  father  on  April  25th:  "We 
have  heard  with  delight  that  Napoleon  was  present  at  the 
great  battle  which  the  French  lost.  May  he  lose  his  head 
as  well!  There  are  a  great  many  prophecies  about  his 
speedy  end,  and  people  say  that  the  Apocalypse  applies  to 
him.  They  maintain  that  he  is  going  to  die  this  year  at 
Cologne,  in  an  inn  called  the  '  Red  Crawfish. '  I  do  not 
attach  much  importance  to  these  prophecies,  but  how  glad 
should  I  be  to  see  them  come  true!" 

On  May  13th  the  capitulation  of  the  Austrian  capital 
was  signed,  and  Napoleon's  army  again  entered  Vienna, 
the  Emperor  taking  up  his  old  quarters  at  the  imperial 
palace  of  Schoenbrunn.  He  said  to  his  soldiers:  "  The 
people  of  Vienna,  according  to  the  expression  of  the 
deputation,  wearied,  deserted,  widowed,  shall  be  the 
object  of  your  regards.  I  take  the  inhabitants  under  my 
special  protection.  As  for  the  turbulent  and  ill-disposed, 
I  will  make  a  severe  example  of  them.  I^et  us  be  kind 
towards  the  poor  peasants,  towards  these  good  people, 
who  have  so  many  claims  upon  our  esteem.  Eet  us  not 
be  vain  of  all  our  successes ;  but  look  upon  them  as  a 
proof  of  that  divine  justice  which  punishes  ingratitude 
and  perjury." 


XI 

THE  BATTI^K  OF  WAGRAM 

The  Austrian  army,  in  abandoning  the  capital  of  the 
Empire,  had  not  renounced  the  war,  although  in  thirty- 
three  days  Napoleon  had,  with  one  stroke  of  his  sword, 
cut  in  two  the  mass  of  their  armies,  and  with  a  second 
burst  open  the  gates  of  Vienna.  He  was  now  firmly  estab- 
lished in  that  capital,  and  master  of  the  main  resources 
of  the  monarchy  ;  but  his  work  was  far  from  being  done, 
either  in  Austria  or  in  Germany.  A  great  difficulty 
remained  to  be  overcome, — that  of  crossing  a  vast  river 
in  the  face  of  the  enemy,  and  to  give  battle  with  the  river 
behind  him.  This  difficulty  Napoleon  had  been  unable 
to  prevent,  and  it  resulted  inevitably  from  the  nature 
of  things.  On  leaving  Ratisbon  he  had  been  obliged 
to  take  the  route  which  was  shortest,  thus  keeping  the 
two  main  divisions  of  the  Austrian  army  separated  from 
each  other.  He  was  consequently  obliged  to  march 
along  the  right  bank  of  the  Danube,  abandoning  the  left 
to  the  Austrians,  but  securing  to  himself  exclusively  the 
means  of  crossing  from  the  one  to  the  other. 

The  Archduke  Charles  was  soon  tempted  to  quit  the 
fastness  of  Bohemia,  and  try  once  more  the  fortune  of  a 
battle.  Having  re-established  the  order,  and  recruited 
the  numbers  of  his  army  to  100,000  men,  he  was  soon 
posted  on  the  banks  of  the  Danube.  Opposite  were  the 
French,  and  the  river  being  greatly  swollen,  and  all  the 
bridges  destroyed,  the  two  armies  seemed  separated  by  an 
impassable  barrier.     Napoleon  determined  to  pass  it  and 

288 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  289 

after  an  unsuccessful  attempt  at  NussdorfF,  met  with  better 
fortune  at  EbersdorfF,  where  the  river  is  broad  and  inter- 
sected by  a  number  of  low  and  woody  islands,  the  largest 
of  which  bears  the  name  of  Lobau.  Here  Massena  had 
thrown  several  bridges  over  the  arms  of  the  Danube. 

On  these  islands  Napoleon  established  the  greater  part 
of  his  army  on  May  19th,  and  on  the  following  day  made 
good  his  passage  by  means  of  a  bridge  of  boats  to  the  left 
bank  of  the  Danube,  where  he  took  possession  of  the 
villages  of  Asperne  and  Essling,  with  so  little  show  of 
opposition  that  it  became  evident  that  the  Archduke  wished 
the  inevitable  battle  to  take  place  with  the  river  between 
his  enemy  and  Vienna. 

On  the  2 1  St,  at  daybreak,  the  Archduke  appeared  on  a 
rising  ground,  separated  from  the  French  position  by  an 
extensive  plain.  His  whole  force  was  divided  into  five 
heavy  columns  and  protected  by  not  less  than  two  hundred 
pieces  of  artillery.  The  battle  began  at  4  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  with  a  furious  assault  on  the  village  of  Asperne, 
which  was  taken  and  retaken  several  times,  and  remained 
at  nightfall  in  the  occupation  partly  of  the  French  and 
partly  of  the  assailants,  who  had  established  themselves 
in  the  church  and  churchyard.  Kssling  sustained  three 
attacks  also,  but  there  the  French  remained  in  complete 
possession.  At  one  time  Lannes,  who  defended  this  point, 
was  so  hard  pressed,  that  he  must  have  given  way  had 
not  Napoleon  relieved  him,  and  obtained  him  a  breathing 
spell  by  a  well-timed  and  terrific  charge  of  cavalry  under 
Bessieres,  which  fell  upon  their  centre. 

Night  finally  interrupted  the  action,  the  Austrians  exult- 
ing in  their  partial  success  ;  and  Napoleon  surprised  that 
he  should  not  have  been  wholly  victorious.     On  either 


ago  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

side  the  carnage  had  been  terrible,  and  the  pathways  of 
the  villages  were  literally  choked  with  the  dead. 

Just  as  Napoleon  was  about  to  retire  for  a  few  hours' 
rest  he  was  interrupted  by  a  violent  altercation  between 
two  of  his  chief  lieutenants,  Bessieres  and  lyannes,  the 
former  of  whom  complained  of  the  language  used  by  the 
latter,  his  inferior  in  rank,  in  giving  a  necessary  order  for 
a  charge  of  cuirassiers  and  chasseurs,  then  under  the 
orders  of  Marshal  Bessieres  himself.  Massena,  who  was 
on  the  spot,  was  obliged  to  interfere  between  these  gallant 
men,  who  after  having  braved  for  a  whole  day  the  cross- 
fire of  300  pieces  of  cannon,  were  ready  to  draw  their 
swords  for  the  sake  of  their  offended  pride.  Napoleon 
allayed  their  quarrel,  which  was  to  be  terminated  next 
day  by  the  enemy  in  the  saddest  way  for  themselves  and 
for  the  army. 

Next  morning  the  battle  recommenced  at  4  o'clock 
with  equal  fury,  the  French  recovering  Asperne  ;  but  the 
Austrian  right  wing  renewed  its  assaults  on  that  point, 
and  in  such  numbers  that  Napoleon  guessed  that  their 
centre  and  left  had  been  weakened  for  the  purpose  of 
strengthening  their  right.  Believingthishe  instantly  moved 
such  masses  upon  the  Austrian  centre  that  the  Archduke's 
line  was  shaken,  and  for  a  moment  it  seemed  as  if 
the  victory  of  the  French  was  secure.  In  fact  it  was 
extremely  doubtful  if  the  Austrian  centre  could  withstand 
the  mass  of  20,000  infantry  and  6,000  horse  which  I/annes 
had  thrown  upon  it. 

The  Archduke  Charles  now  hastened  to  the  spot  to 
prevent  the  catastrophe  that  threatened  his  centre,  and  in 
this  critical  moment  discharged  at  once  the  duties  of  a 
general  and  a  common  soldier.     He  brought  up  reserves, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  291 

replaced  the  gaps  which  had  been  made  in  his  Une  by  the 
furious  onslaught  of  the  French,  and  while  awaiting  the 
execution  of  these  orders,  seized  a  standard  and  himself 
led  the  grenadiers  to  the  charge,  while  his  bravest  officers 
were  struck  down  by  his  side.  Ivannes,  who  also  headed 
his  soldiers  in  person,  seeing  the  Austrian  infantry  dis- 
ordered, let  loose  upon  them  Bessieres  and  his  own  cuiras- 
siers, who,  charging  Hohenzollern's  corps,  broke  several 
squares  and  took  prisoners,  cannon  and  flags. 

Success  now  seemed  certain,  and  I^annes  sent  a  staff 
officer  to  acquaint  Napoleon  of  his  progress  and  asked 
him  to  cover  his  rear  whilst  he  was  advancing  in  the  plain 
and  leaving  so  large  a  space  between  him  and  Essling. 
The  officer  found  Napoleon  watching  the  grand  spectacle 
of  which  he  was  the  director.  He  did  not  express  any- 
thing like  the  satisfaction  he  might  have  been  expected 
to  feel  at  such  a  communication.  The  fact  was,  an  unfortu- 
nate accident  had  occurred.  At  this  critical  moment  the 
biidge  connecting  the  island  of  lyobau  was  being  wholly 
swept  away  by  means  of  fire-ships  sent  down  the  river 
by  the  Austrians.  Napoleon  at  once  perceived  that  if  he 
wished  to  preserve  his  communication  with  the  right  of 
the  Danube,  where  his  reserve  still  lay,  he  must  instantly 
fall  back  on  I^obau.  The  want  of  troops,  however,  was 
not  the  first  consequence  of  the  rupture  of  the  bridge,  for 
the  60,000  already  passed  over  were  enough  to  beat  the 
Austrians.  What  was  most  to  be  regretted  was  the  want 
of  ammunition,  a  prodigious  quantity  of  which  had  already 
been  consumed,  and  of  which  there  would  soon  be  a 
scarcity. 

Napoleon  therefore  resolved  upon  a  painful  sacrifice  in 
order  not  ta  expose  himself  to  risks -which  prudence  for- 


292  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

bade  him  to  brave.  Having  formed  this  resolution,  in  an 
instant  he  ordered  the  staff  officer  to  return  to  L<annes  as 
fast  as  possible  and  tell  him  to  suspend  the  movement  and 
fall  back  gradually  on  the  Bssling  and  Aspernejine.  He 
was  also  to  recommend  the  marshal  to  be  sparing  of 
ammunition. 

On  receiving  this  order  Lannes  and  Bessieres  were  com- 
pelled, to  their  deep  regret,  to  halt  in  the  midst  of  the 
vast  plain  of  Marchfield.  No  sooner  did  the  French  troops 
commence  their  backward  movement  than  the  Austrians 
recovered  their  order  and  zeal,  charged  in  turn,  and  finally 
made  themselves  masters  of  Asperne. 

Essling,  where  Massena  commanded,  held  firm,  and 
under  the  protection  of  that  village  and  numerous  batteries 
erected  near  it,  Napoleon  succeeded  in  withdrawing  his 
whole  force  during  the  night.  The  Commander  had  sent 
earlier  in  the  day  to  inquire  of  Massena  if  he  could  rely 
on  the  possession  of  Asperne;  for  as  long  as  it  and  Essling 
remained,  the  safe  retreat  of  the  army  was  insured.  The 
staff  officer  who  took  the  message  found  Massena  on  a 
heap  of  rubbish,  harassed  with  fatigue,  with  blood-shot 
eyes,  but  with  unabated  energy  of  spirit. 

On  receiving  the  message  he  stood  up  and  replied  with 
extraordinary  emphasis  :  "Go  tell  the  Emperor  I  will 
hold  out  two  hours, — twenty -four — so  long  as  it  is  neces- 
sary for  the  safety  of  the  army  ! ' ' 

It  was  during  this  exciting  retreat  that  a  dreadful 
calamity  befell  the  army.  Whilst  Lannes  was  galloping 
in  front  of  the  line  from  one  corps  to  another,  encouraging 
the  soldiers  by  his  voice  and  example,  an  officer  who 
was  alarmed  at  seeing  him  exposed  to  so  much  danger, 
entreated  him  to  dismount  for  greater  safety.     He  followed 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  293 

the  advice,  though  it  was  far  from  his  habit  to  be  careful 
of  his  life.  At  that  instant  he  was  struck  by  a  cannon 
ball  that  shattered  both  his  knees.  Bessieres  and  an  aide 
raised  him  up,  and  found  him  bathed  in  blood  and  almost 
senseless.  Bessieres,  with  whom  he  had  quarreled  on  the 
preceding  day,  pressed  his  weak  hand.  He  was  laid  on  a 
cuirassier's  cloak  and  carried  to  a  little  bridge  where  an 
ambulance  was  stationed.  The  news  soon  spread  through 
the  army  and  filled  it  with  sorrow.  The  surgeon  declared 
his  wounds  to  be  mortal. 

In  his  frenzy  the  brave  marshal  called  for  Napoleon, 
his  friend.  The  latter  observed  a  group  advancing,  sup- 
porting I^annes  on  a  bier  formed  of  crossed  fire-locks  and 
some  branches  of  oak.  Twelve  old  grenadiers,  covered 
with  blood  and  dust,  bore  this  illustrious  warrior  along. 
As  soon  as  the  Bmperor  saw  it  was  the  Duke  of  Monte- 
bello  he  hastened  to  meet  him.  The  grenadiers  stopped, 
and  Napoleon,  throwing  himself  upon  his  old  companion- 
in-arms,  who  had  fainted  from  the  loss  of  blood,  in  a 
voice  scarcely  articulate,  said,  several  times,  "  Lannes,  my 
friend,  do  you  know  me?  It  is  the  Emperor,  it  is 
Bonaparte,  your  friend." 

At  these  words  Lannes  opened  his  eyes,  till  then  closed, 
collected  his  spirits,  and  made  some  attempts  to  speak ; 
but,  being  unable,  he  could  only  lift  his  dying  arms  to 
pass  them  round  the  neck  of  Napoleon.  The  fear  of 
exhausting  the  little  life  still  remaining  in  the  marshal 
determined  the  Bmperor  to  leave  him. 

Sometime  later  Napoleon  visited  his  wounded  friend 
and  conversed  with  him  briefly.  "  My  noble  marshal," 
said  the  Emperor,  "  It  is  all  over. "  "  What ! ' '  cried  the 
dying  man,  "  can't _j/(?z^  save  me?  "     He  died  in  delirium 


294  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

some  days  later  in  the  arms  of  his  chief,  who  wept  over  him 
as  he  had  done  at  the  death  of  Desaix  at  Marengo.  The 
French  soldiery  delighted  to  call  him  the  ' '  Roland  of  the 
Camp,"  and  Napoleon  said,  "It  was  impossible  to  be  more 
brave  than  I^annes. ' '  No  man  could  inspire  his  troops 
with  more  confidence  than  could  this  brave  soldier  who 
had  been  the  companion  of  the  fortunes  and  glory  of  Napo- 
leon from  the  very  beginning  of  his  public  career. 

Napoleon  had  charged  Lannes  to  maintain  Essling  at 
all  hazards  and  he  valiantly  fulfilled  his  task.  At  length, 
at  nine  at  night,  the  sanguinary  conflict  ceased ;  the 
French  preserving  the  position  they  had  occupied  in  the 
morning,  and  the  Austrians  bivouacking  where  they 
were.  Both  sides  sustained  an  equal  loss,  from  fifteen  to 
twenty  thousand  men  having  been  killed,  or  wounded,  on 
both  sides.  Among  the  Austrians  were  four  field-mar- 
shals, eight  generals  and  six  hundred  and  sixty-three 
officers  killed  or  wounded. 

On  the  morning  of  the  23rd  of  May  the  French  were 
cooped  up  in  I^obau  and  the  adjacent  islands, — Asperne  and 
Kssling — the  whole  left  bank  of  the  river,  remaining  in  the 
possession  of  the  Austrians.  On  either  side  a  victory 
was  claimed.  In  the  eyes  of  Europe  it  was  a  check  for 
Napoleon,  accustomed  to  crush  his  enemy,  to  have  been 
unable  at  this  time  to  drive  the  Austrians  from  their 
position. 

The  situation  of  the  French  Kmperor  was  imminently 
hazardous ;  he  was  separated  from  Davoust  and  his 
reserves,  and,  had  the  enemy  either  attacked  him  in  the 
islands, or  passed  the  river  higher  up  and  so  overwhelmed 
Davoust  and  relieved  Vienna,  the  results  might  have 
been  fatal.     But  the  Archduke's  loss  in  these  two  days 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  295 

had  been  very  great ;  and,  in  place  of  risking  an  offensive 
movement,  lie  contented  himself  with  strengthening  the 
position  of  Asperne  and  Kssling,  and  awaiting  quietly  the 
moment  when  his  enemy  should  choose  to  attempt  once 
more  the  passage  to  the  left  bank,  and  the  reoccupation  of 
these  stubbornly  contested  villages. 

Napoleon  availed  himself  of  this  pause  with  his  usual 
skill.  That  he  had  been  checked  was  true,  and  that  the 
news  would  be  heard  with  enthusiasm,  he  well  knew.  It 
was  necessary,  therefore,  to  regain  the  fame  which  had 
surrounded  the  beginning  of  the  campaign,  and  he  made 
every  preparation  for  another  decisive  battle.  Some  weeks 
elapsed  ere  he  ventured  to  assume  the  offensive. 

On  the  4th  of  July,  1809,  Napoleon  at  last  re-established 
his  communication  with  the  right  bank,  and  arranged  the 
means  of  passing  to  the  left  at  a  point  where  the  Arch- 
duke had  made  hardly  any  preparation  for  receiving  him. 
On  the  5th  of  July,  at  10  o'clock  at  night,  the  French 
began  to  cross  from  the  islands  in  the  Danube  to  the  left 
bank.  Gunboats  prepared  for  the  purpose  silenced  some 
of  the  Austrian  batteries  ;  others  were  avoided  by  passing 
the  river  out  of  reach  of  their  fire  on  bridges  that 
had  been  secretly  erected  by  the  French.  When  Napo- 
leon had  a  river  to  be  crossed  he  began  the  operation  by 
suddenly  conveying  some  determined  men  to  the  opposite 
Bide  in  boats.  These  proceeded  to  disarm  or  kill  the 
enemy's  advanced  posts,  and  to  fix  the  moorings  to  which 
the  boats  were  to  be  attached  that  were  to  carry  the  bridge. 
The  army  then  passed  over  as  quickly  as  possible. 

The  first  of  these  operations  was  the  most  difficult  in 
presence  of  an  enemy  so  numerous  and  so  well  prepared 
as  were  the  Austrians.     To  facilitate  it,  Napoleon   had 


296  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

large  flat  boats  constructed,  capable  of  carrying  300  men 
each,  and  having  a  moving  gunwale  to  protect  the  men 
from  musketry,  which  on  being  let  down,  would  serve  in- 
stead of  planks  for  landing.  Every  corps  was  provided  with 
five  of  these  flat-boats,  which  made  an  advance  guard 
of  1500  men  carried  over  at  once,  and  the  enemy,  not 
knowing  exactly  where  the  crossing  would  be  made, 
could  not  confront  the  French  with  advanced  posts  in 
sufficient  numbers  to  prevent  their  landing. 

The  Austrians  having  rashly  calculated  that  Aspeme 
and  Essling  must  needs  be  the  object  of  the  next  contest, 
as  of  the  preceding,  they  were  taken  almost  unawares 
by  Napoleon's  appearance  in  another  quarter.  They 
changed  their  line  on  the  instant  and  occupied  a 
position,  the  centre  and  key  of  which  was  the  little  town 
of  Wagram.  Here,  on  the  6th  of  Jul 5^,  the  final  and 
decisive  battle  was  to  be  fought.  Adding  together  the 
troops  of  Massena,  Oudinot,  Davoust,  Bernadotte,  Prince 
Eugene,  Macdonald,  Marmont,  deWredeand  the  Guard, 
there  appeared  to  be  150,000  men  ;  of  whom  26,000  were 
cavalry  and  12,000  artillerymen  serving  550  guns;  an 
enormous  force,  such  as  Napoleon  had  never  yet  mus- 
tered on  a  field  of  battle,  and  according  to  some  author- 
ities, such  a  host  as  had  never  been  brought  into  action 
by  any  leader.  Besides  this  vast  force  Napoleon  had 
with  him  the  invincible  Massena,  who  was  then  suffering 
from  a  fall  from  his  horse,  but  who  was  capable  of  mas- 
tering all  physical  sufferings  on  a  day  of  battle  ;  the 
Stubborn  Davoust,  the  impetuous  Oudinot,  the  intrepid  Mac- 
donald, and.  a  multitude  of  others  who  were  ready  to  pur- 
chase the  triumph  of  the  French  arms  with  their  blood. 
The  heroic  I^annes  was  the  only  one  missing.     Fate  had 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  297 

forbidden  him  to  witness  a  victory  to  which  he  had  power- 
fully contributed  by  his  conduct  in  this  campaign. 

When  the  day  dawned  on  the  banks  of  the  river,  about 
4  o'clock  in  the  morning,  a  most  imposing  spectacle  pre- 
sented itself  to  both  armies.  The  sufi  glistened  on  thous- 
ands of  bayonets  and  helmets,  and  seventy  thousand  men 
were  already  in  line  of  battle  on  the  enemy's  side  of  the 
river  capable  of  making  a  good  fight  with  the  Archduke's 
forces.  Seeing  Napoleon  ride  along  the  front  of  the  lines 
his  soldiers  raised  their  shakos  on  their  bayonets  and  cried  : 
' '  Vive  r  Empereur  ! ' '  The  ground  covered  by  the  two 
armies  was  about  two  leagues  in  extent.  The  troops 
nearest  were  about  1 200  fathoms  from  the  city  of  Vienna, 
so  that  the  towers,  steeples,  and  tops  of  the  highest 
houses,  were  covered  by  the  numerous  population,  thus 
become  spectators  of  the  terrible  contest  then  preparing. 

The  Archduke  had  extended  his  line  over  too  wide  a 
space,  and  his  former  error  enabled  Napoleon  to  at  once  see 
an  opportunity  to  ruin  hiui  by  his  old  device  of  pouring 
the  full  shock  of  his  strength  on  the  centre.  In  fact,  so 
apparently  weak  was  the  position  of  the  Austrians  at  this 
time  that  the  Kmperor,in  his  bulletin  of  the  engagement 
sent  to  Paris,  had  this  to  say  :  "This  disposition  of  the 
army  appealed  so  absurd  that  some  snare  was  dreaded, 
and  the  Emperor  hesitated  some  time  before  ordering  the 
easy  dispositions  which  he  had  to  make  in  order  to  annul 
those  of  the  enemy,  and  render  them  fatal  to  him. ' '  At 
sunrise  the  cannonade  commenced  upon  the  two  lines. 
Napoleon,  perceiving  that  the  Prince  of  Rosemberg  was 
moving  upon  Marshal  Davoust,  repaired  in  person  to 
the  right  wing,  which  he  reinforced  with  the  cuirassiers 
under  General  Arrighe,  and  caused  twelve  pieces  of  light 


298  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

artillery  to  advance  upon  the  flank  of  the  enemy's  col- 
umns. After  an  obstinate  engagement  of  two  hours'  dura- 
tion, Davoust  succeeded  in  repulsing  his  adversary  as  far 
as  Neusiedel. 

While  the  French  army  thus  signalized  itself  by 
success  in  the  beginning  of  the  day,  the  battle  was  carried 
along  the  rest  of  the  line  with  great  determination.  The 
fire  of  musketry  and  cannon  was  now  general  on  that  vast 
front  of  nearly  three  leagues,  along  which  300,000  men  and 
1 100  pieces  of  cannon  were  arrayed  against  each  other. 
It  was  a  principle  of  Napoleon's  that  by  concentrating 
on  one  point  the  action  of  certain  special  arms  that  grand 
effects  were  to  be  produced,  and  therefore  it  was  that  he 
bestowed  an  immense  amount  of  artillery  on  the  Guard 
and  had  kept  under  his  hand  a  reserve  of  fourteen  regi- 
ments of  cuirassiers. 

The  Emperor  now  ordered  that  the  whole  of  the  artillery 
of  the  Guard,  together  with  all  that  could  be  spared  by  the 
several  corps,  advance  at  a  gallop.  Just  then  General 
de  Wrede  arrived  on  the  groimd  with  cwenty-five  pieces  of 
excellent  artillery,  and  solicited  the  honor  of  taking  part 
in  the  decisive  movement,  to  which  Napoleon  consented. 
He  then  sent  for  General  Macdonald,  his  design  being  to 
shake  the  Austrian  centre  with  100  guns,  and  then  pierce 
it  with  Macdonald' s  bayonets  and  Nansouty's  sabres. 
These  orders  were  obeyed  on  the  instant. 

While  awaiting  the  carrying  out  of  these  movements, 
impatient  for  the  arrival  of  Macdonald  and  Lauriston, 
Napoleon  rode  about  the  field  on  his  Persian  horse  of  dazz- 
ling whiteness, giving  orders  to  his  aides  constantly.  The 
cannonading  had  by  this  time  acquired  the  frequency  of 
musket-firing,  and  everybody  shuddered  at  the  thought 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  299 

of  seeing  the  man,  on  whose  life  so  many  destinies 
depended,  struck  by  one  of  those  blind  messengers  of 
death.  The  hundred  guns  were  now  ranged  in  line  and 
instantly  began  the  most  tremendous  slaughter  ever 
known  to  those  who  witnessed  it.  Napoleon  observed 
with  his  glass  the  effect  of  that  formidable  battery,  saw 
the  enemy's  artillery  dismounted,  and  was  satified  with 
the  correctness  of  his  own  conceptions.  But  artillery  was 
not  sufl&cient  to  break  the  Austrian  centre  ;  bayonets,  too, 
were  requisite. 

The  intrepid  Macdonald  now  advanced  at  the  head  of 
his  corps  under  a  deluge  of  fire,  leaving  the  ground 
covered  at  every  step  with  his  dead  and  wounded,  still 
closing  the  ranks  without  wavering,  and  communicating 
his  own  gallant  bearing  to  his  soldiers.  "What  a  brave 
man  ! ' '  Napoleon  exclaimed  several  times,  as  he  saw  him 
thus  march  under  the  shower  of  grape  and  bullets.  The 
Archduke's  centre, shaken  by  the  fire  of  a  hundred  pieces  of 
ordinance,  retreats,  as  does  also  his  right.  Davoust  now 
shakes  the  Austrian  left  wing,  and  as  he  does  so  Napoleon 
exclaims:  '  'The  battle  is  won !' ' ,  —and  so  it  was.  lyauriston, 
with  a  hundred  pieces  of  cannon,  and  Macdonald  at  the 
head  of  a  chosen  division,  charged  the  Austrians  in  the 
centre  and  broke  through  it.  The  victory  was  for  the 
French  once  more. 

At  length  the  Austrian  army  fell  into  disorder,  their 
centre  was  driven  back  two  or  three  miles  out  of  the  line  ; 
cries  of  alarm  were  heard,  the  right  wing  gave  way  and 
the  left  soon  followed.  The  rout  was  now  complete. 
At  the  close  of  the  battle  there  remained  20,000  pris- 
oners, besides  all  the  artillery  and  baggage  in  the  hands 

of    the    French.      Napoleon    showed  all     his    courage 
20 


300  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

and  talents  on  this  day,  and  was  ever  in  the 
hottest  of  the  action,  though  the  appearance  of  his 
retinue  drew  on  him  showers  of  grape  by  which  he 
was  repeatedly  endangered.  From  early  morning,  he 
was  occupied  in  galloping  through  the  different  lines, 
encouraging  the  troops  by  his  presence  and  persuasive 
eloquence ;  many  being  killed  by  the  balls  that 
flew  about  him.  It  was  observed  that  the  enemy's 
fire  was  particularly  directed  against  the  Emperor ;  in 
consequence  of  which  Napoleon  was  obliged  to  change 
his  surtout  three  times.  The  aides-de-camp  and  officers 
of  the  staff  were  also  given  to  understand  that  they  should 
keep  more  at  a  distance, and  the  regiments  were  instructed 
not  to  salute  the  Emperor  with  acclamations  at  the 
moment  he  was  passing. 

On  the  following  morning,  after  surveying  the  field  of 
battle,  Napoleon  went  to  place  himself  in  the  midst  of  his 
troops  who  were  about  to  pursue  the  retreating  enemy. 
He  walked  round  the  bivouacs  without  either  hat  or 
sword,  his  hands  being  crossed  behind  him,  and  as  he 
talked  with  the  soldiers  of  his  Guard  his  manner  and  coun- 
tenance expressed  the  utmost  satisfaction  and  confidence. 
On  passing  Macdonald,  with  whom  he  had  lost  favor,  and 
who  had  not  followed  the  fortunes  of  the  Emperor  for 
some  years.  Napoleon  stopped  and  held  out  his  hand, 
saying  :  "  Shake  hands,  Macdonald  ;  no  more  animosity 
between  us,  we  must  henceforth  be  friends ;  and,  as  a 
pledge  of  my  sincerity,  I  will  send  you  your  marshal's 
staff,  which  you  so  gloriously  earned  in  yesterday's 
battle."  The  general,  pressing  the  Emperor's  hand 
affectionately,  exclaimed:  "Ah,  sire;  with  us  it  is 
henceforth  for  life  and  for  death."     The  act  was  height- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  301 

ened  by  the  grace  and  good  will  with  which  it  was  per- 
formed. The  same  rank  was  granted  a  few  days  after  to 
General  Oudinot  and  the  Duke  of  Ragusa  (Marmont), 
for  their  eminent  services. 

After  the  battle  Napoleon  recognized  among  the  dead 
a  colonel  who  had  displeased  him.  He  stopped  and 
looked  at  the  mangled  body  for  a  moment  and  then  said, 
' '  I  regret  not  having  told  him  before  the  battle  that  I  had 
forgotten  everything. ' ' 

The  Archduke  fled  in  great  confusion  as  far  as  Znaim 
in  Moravia,  abandoning,  as  trophies  of  his  defeat,  ten 
standards,  forty  pieces  of  cannon,  nearly  18,000  prisoners, 
nine  thousand  wounded, and  a  great  quantity  of  equipage. 

The  loss  of  the  French,  while  much  less  than  that  of 
the  enemy, was  6,000  wounded  and  2,600  killed.  Marshal 
Bessieres  was  among  the  former.  The  French  army  had 
to  lament  the  loss  of  the  valiant  LaSalle,  one  of  the  first 
generals  of  light  cavalry.  His  death  was  greatly  regretted 
both  by  the  Emperor  and  the  army.  He  was  considered 
the  best  light  cavalry  officer  for  outpost  duty  and  had  the 
surest  eye.  He  could  take  in  a  whole  district  in  a  moment, 
and  seldom  made  a  mistake,  so  that  his  reports  on  the 
enemy's  position  were  clear  and  precise.  He  was  a  hand- 
some man  of  bright  wit,  an  excellent  horseman  and 
brave  to  the  point  of  rashness.  He  first  attracted  the 
notice  of  General  Bonaparte  at  the  battle  of  Rivoli  when 
he  galloped  down  a  descent  to  which  the  fleeing  Austrians 
had  resorted  to  escape,  and  took  some  thousand  prisoners 
under  the  eyes  of  General  Bonaparte  and  the  army.  From 
that  time  LaSalle  was  in  high  favor  with  Napoleon  who 
promoted  him  rapidly  and  took  him  to  Egypt  where  he 
made  him  colonel.  He  distinguished  himself  at  Austerlitz 
and  in  Prussia. 


302  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Imperial  Council  perceived  that  further  resistanc  was 
useless  and  an  armistice  was  agreed  to  at  TAidiva.  Napo- 
leon, on  returning  to  Vienna,  continued  occupied  until 
October.  For  the  third  time  he  found  himself  master  of 
the  destinies  of  the  House  of  Lorraine,  which  he  had 
accused  of  ingratitude  and  perjury  before  Europe  and  in 
the  face  of  history  ;  for  the  third  time  this  conqueror,  so 
violent  in  his  menaces,  so  overwhelming  in  his  reproaches, 
eagerly  received  the  proposals  of  those  who  had  provoked 
the  war,  whose  hopes  had  been  overthrown,  and  whose 
resources  were  destroyed  on  the  day  of  Wagram.  The 
results  of  the  battle,  without  being  as  extraordinary  as 
those  of  Austerlitz,  Jena  or  Friedland,  were  great  never- 
theless. 

The  announcement  of  the  armistice  with  Austria  put 
an  end, in  effect,  to  all  hostile  demonstrations  on  the  Con- 
tinent, except  in  the  Peninsula,  and  Germany  in  apparent 
tranquility  awaited  the  result  of  the  negotiations  of 
Vienna. 

A  few  days  after  Napoleon  had  returned  to  Schoenbrunn 
from  Moravia  he  narrowly  escaped  the  dagger  of  a  young 
man  who  rushed  upon  him  at  a  grand  review  of  the 
Imperial  Guard,  and  while  in  the  midst  of  all  his  staff. 
Berthier  and  Rapp  threw  themselves  upon  the  would-be 
assassin  and  disarmed  him  at  the  moment  when  his  knife 
was  about  to  enter  the  Emperor's  body. 

Napoleon  demanded  to  know  what  motive  had 
actuated  the  assassin.  "What  injury,"  said  he,  "  have  I 
done  to  you?" 

' '  To  me  personally,  none, ' '  answered  the  youth,  *  *  but 
you  are  the  oppressor  of  my  country  ;  the  tyrant  of  the 
world  ;  and  to  have  put  you  to  death  would  have  been 
the  highest  glory  of  a  man  of  honor. ' ' 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  303 

The  youth,  a  son  of  a  clergyman  of  Erfurt  named 
Staaps,  was  condemned  to  death.  It  is  said  Napoleon 
wished  to  pardon  Staaps,  whose  frankness  and  courage 
had  struck  him,  and  in  whom,  besides,  he  saw  but  a 
blind  instrument  of  the  passions  incited  by  the  monarchy  ; 
but  his  orders  arrived  too  late.  The  young  German  met 
his  death  with  the  greatest  coolness,  exclaiming  :  "  Hail, 
lyiberty!     Germany  forever!     Death  to  the  tyrant!" 

The  length  to  which  the  negotiations  with  Austria  were 
protracted  excited  much  wonder,  but  Napoleon,  who  was 
occupied  incessantly  with  his  ministers  and  generals,  and 
seldom  showed  himself  in  public,  had  other  business  on 
hand  besides  his  treaty  with  the  Emperor  Francis.  His 
long-standing  quarrel  with  the  Pope  now  reached  its 
crisis,  growing  out  of  the  Concordat,  involving  affairs  in 
Spain  and  Portugal,  and  finally  by  a  refusal  of  the  pontiff 
to  acquiesce  in  the  Berlin  and  Milan  decrees  against 
England's  commerce.  On  the  17th  of  May  Napoleon  had 
issued  from  Vienna  his  final  decree  declaring  the  temporal 
sovereignty  of  the  Pope  to  be  wholly  at  an  end,  incorpo- 
rating Rome  with  the  French  Empire,  and  declaring  it  to 
be  his  second  city,  settling  a  handsome  pension  on  the 
holy  father  in  his  spiritual  capacity,  and  appointing  a 
committee  of  administration  for  the  civil  government  of 
Rome.  The  Pope  replied  with  a  bull  of  excommunication 
against  Napoleon  which  finally  resulted  in  the  removal  of 
His  Holiness  to  Fontainebleau  where  he  continued  a 
prisoner,  though  treated  personally  with  respect  and  mag- 
nificence, during  more  than  three  years. 

The  treaty  with  Austria  was  at  last  signed  at  Schoen- 
brunn  on  the  14th  of  October,  Austria  giving  up  territory 
to  the  amount  of  45,000  square  miles,  with  a  population 


304  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

of  four  millions,  and  depriving  her  of  lier  last  seaport. 
Yet,  wiien  compared  with  the  signal  triumphs  of  the 
campaign  at  Wagram,  the  terms  on  which  the  conqueror 
signed  the  peace  were  universally  looked  upon  as  remark- 
able for  moderation.  Napoleon  afterwards  expressed  him- 
self as  highly  culpable  in  having  left  Austria  too  powerful 
after  the  affair  at  Wagram,  using  the  following  words  on 
that  occasion  :  * '  The  day  after  the  battle  I  ought  to  have 
published  in  the  order  of  the  day  that  I  would  ratify  no 
treaty  with  Austria,  until  after  a  previous  separation  of 
the  crown  of  Austria,  Hungary,  and  Bohemia;  to  be  placed 
on  three  difierent  heads." 

Napoleon  quitted  Vienna  on  the  i6th  of  October,  and 
was  congratulated  by  the  public  bodies  of  Paris  at  Fon- 
tainebleau  on  the  14th  of  November  as  "the  greatest  of 
heroes,  who  never  achieved  victories  but  for  the  happiness 
of  the  world. ' '  "When  he  reappeared  at  the  palace  at  Fon- 
tainebleau  on  Oct.  26th  1809,  crowned  with  the  victory  of 
Wagram,  there  was  one  to  whom  dark  forebodings  came — 
Josephine  felt  that  her  fate  was  sealed.  In  fact,  as  a 
modern  writer  has  said,  the  immediate  result  of  Wagram 
was  the  divorce  from  the  Empress. 

The  first  public  intimation  of  a  measure  which  had  for 
a  considerable  period  occupied  Napoleon's  thoughts  came 
from  the  Emperor  himself  when  he  said,  in  an  imperial 
speech  in  which  he  described  the  events  of  the  past  year, 
and  the  state  of  France  :  "I  and  my  house  will  ever  be 
found  ready  to  sacrifice  everything,  even  our  own  dearest 
ties  and  feelings,  to  the  welfare  of  the  French  people. ' ' 


XII 

CAMPAIGN  OF  RUSSIA 

hong  before  Napoleon  assumed  the  imperial  title  his 
hopes  of  offspring  from  the  union  with  Josephine  were  at 
an  end,  but  the  Empress  lived  for  a  time  in  hope  that  the 
Emperor  would  be  content  to  adopt  her  son  Eugene, 
lyouis  Bonaparte  married  Hortense  Beauharnais,  daughter 
of  Josephine,  and  an  infant  son  became  so  much  the/ 
favorite  of  Napoleon  that  the  Empress,  as  well  as  others/ 
come  to  regard  this  boy  as  the  heir  of  France.  But  the. 
child  died  early  and  the  Emperor  then  began  to  direct  ^' 
his  thoughts  towards  the  best  means  of  dissolving  his 
marriage  with  Josephine,  in  order  that  he  might  form  an 
alliance  with  some  daughter  of  Russia,  or  other  imperial 
family.  The  Emperor  Alexander  was  approached  on  this 
subject,  and  informed  that  one  of  his  sisters,  the  Grand 
Duchess  Anne,  would  be  acceptable,  but  the  Empress- 
mother  hesitated,  and  this  being  taken  by  Napoleon  as  a 
refusal,  he  sought  the  hand  of  the  Arch-duchess  Marie 
lyouise,  daughter  of  the  Emperor  Francis  of  Austria. 

On  the  15  th  of  December,  1809,  the  Emperor  summoned 
his  council  and  announced  to  them, that  at  the  expense  of 
all  his  personal  feelings,  he,  devoted  wholly  to  the  welfare 
of  the  State,  had  resolved  to  separate  himself  from  his 
most  dear  consort.  '  *  Arrived  at  the  age  of  forty  years  ' ' 
he  said,  "  I  may  conceive  the  hope  of  living  sufficiently 
long  to  elevate,  in  my  mind  and  after  my  ideas,  the 
children  with  which  it  shall  please  Providence  to  bless 

305 


3o6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

me.  God  knows  how  tnucli  this  resolution  has  cost  my 
heart  j  *  H^  *  i  should  also  add,  that,  far  from  ever 
having  to  complain,  I  have  on  the  contrary,  only  had 
cause  to  laud  the  attachment  and  tenderness  of  my  beloved 
wife.  She  has  adorned  fifteen  years  of  my  life.  The 
recollection  thereof  will  always  remain  graven  on  my 
heart." 

Josephine  then  appeared  among  them,  and  not  without 
tears,  expressed  her  acquiescence  in  the  decree.  "I 
believe  I  acknowledge  all  these  sentiments,"  she  said, 
' '  by  consenting  to  the  dissolution  of  a  marriage  which,  at 
present,  is  an  obstacle  to  the  welfare  of  France,  which 
deprives  it  of  being  one  day  governed  by  the  descendants 
of  a  great  man,  so  evidently  raised  by  Providence  to  efface 
the  ills  of  a  terrible  revolution,  and  re-establish  the  altar, 
the  throne,  and  social  order. ' ' 

The  council,  after  addressing  the  Emperor  and  Empress 
on  the  nobleness  of  their  mutual  sacrifice,  accepted  and 
ratified  the  dissolution  of  marriage.  The  title  of  Empress 
was  preserved  to  Josephine  for  life  and  a  pension  of  two 
million  francs,  to  which  Napoleon  afterwards  added  a  third 
million  from  his  privy  purse.  She  then  retired  from  the 
Tuileries,  residing  thenceforth  mostly  at  Malmaison,  and  in 
the  course  of  a  few  weeks  Austria  was  called  upon  for  her 
daughter. 

Having  given  her  hand  at  Vienna  on  the  i  ith  of  March, 
i8io,to  Berthier,who  had  the  honor  to  represent  the  person 
of  the  Emperor,  the  young  Archduchess  set  out  for  France 
on  the  13th. 

On  the  28th,  as  her  carriage  was  proceeding  towards 
Soissons,  Napoleon  rode  up  to  it,  in  a  plain  dress, 
altogether  unattended, and  introduced  himself  to  his  proxy 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  307 

bride.  She  had  never  seen  his  person  till  then,  and  it  is 
said  her  first  exclamation  was,  "  Your  Majesty's  pictures 
have  not  done  you  justice." 

They  spent  the  evening  at  the  chateau  of  Compiegne 
and  a  religious  marriage  was  celebrated  on  the  ist  of 
April  at  St.  Cloud  amidst  every  circiimstance  of  splendor  ; 
the  next  day  they  made  their  entry  into  the  capital. 
Napoleon  in  his  exile  said  that  ' '  the  Spanish  ulcer  ' '  and 
the  Austrian  match  were  the  two  main  causes  of  his  ruin  ; 
— and  they  both  contributed  to  it  largely,  although  by  no 
•means  equally.  The  Exile's  own  opinion  was  that  the 
error  lay,  not  in  seeking  a  bride  of  imperial  birth,  but  in 
choosing  her  at  Vienna.  Had  he  persisted  in  his  demands, 
the  Czar,  he  doubted  not,  would  have  granted  him  his 
sister;  the  proud  dreams  of  Tilsit  would  have  been  realized, 
and  Paris  and  St.  Petersburg  become  the  only  two  capitals 
of  Europe.  Possibly, then, he  would  not  have  had  occasion 
to  say  that  he  ' '  set  his  foot  upon  an  abyss  of  roses ' '  when 
he  married  Marie. 

Had  he  married  a  daughter  of  France,  or  even  an 
imperial  princess  of  Russia,  he  could  have  done  so  with- 
out the  sacrifice  of  the  prestige  of  the  nobility,  and  even 
the  divinity  of  the  people  he  had  so  gloriously  contended 
for ;  but  when  it  was  announced  that  he  had  contracted 
an  alliance  with  the  House  of  Hapsburg, — that  hated  race 
against  whom  and  whose  principles  he  had  fought 
a  hundred  battles, they  were  convinced  that  no  good  would 
come  of  it — and  they  were  right. 

The  war,  meanwhile,  continued  without  interruption  in 
the  Peninsula ;  whither,  but  for  his  marriage  Napoleon 
would  certainly  have  repaired  in  person,  after  the  peace  of 
Schoenbrunn  left  him  at  ease.     So  illy  was  that  Spanish 


3o8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

campaign  conducted  during  Napoleon's  absence  that  not 
an  inch  of  soil  could  be  counted  by  the  French  beyond 
their  outposts.  Their  troops  were  continually  harassed 
and  thinned  by  the  indomitable  guerrillas  who  acted  singly 
or  in  bands  as  occasion  offered. 

The  Emperor's  marriage  was  speedily  followed  on 
the  2oth  of  April,  1811,  by  the  birth  of  a  son  and  heir 
whom  Napoleon  announced  to  the  waiting  courtiers  in 
these  words  :  "  It  is  a  King  of  Rome  ! ' '  The  happy 
event,  announced  to  the  populace  by  the  firing  of  one 
hundred  and  one  guns,  was  received  with  many  demonstra- 
tions of  loyal  enthusiasm.  Bven  Josephine  joined  in 
expressing  her  satisfaction  at  the  event  which  seemed  to 
portend  so  much  for  the  founding  of  a  Napoleonic  dynasty 
which  the  Emperor  now  saw  possible  by  direct  lineage. 

When  the  Emperor  of  Russia  was  informed  of  Napo- 
leon's approaching  nuptials  with  the  Austrian  princess 
his  first  exclamation  was,  "  Then  the  next  thing  will  be 
to  drive  us  back  into  our  forests' ' .  In  truth  the  conferences 
at  Erfurt  had  but  skinned  over  a  wound  which  nothing 
could  have  cured  but  a  total  alteration  of  Napoleon's 
policy.  The  Russian  nation  suffered  so  much  from  the 
continental  system  that  the  Czar  soon  found  himself 
compelled  to  relax  the  decrees  drawn  up  at  Tilsit  in  the 
spirit  of  those  previously  declared  at  Berlin  and  Milan. 
Certain  harbors  were  opened  partially  for  the  admission 
of  colonial  produce  and  the  export  of  native  productions  ; 
and  there  ensued  a  series  of  indignant  reclamations  on  the 
part  of  Napoleon,  and  haughty  evasions  on  that  of  the 
Czar,  which,  ere  long,  satisfied  all  near  observers  that 
Russia  would  not  be  slow  to  avail  herself  of  any  favorable 
opportunity  of  once  more  appealing  to  arms. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  309 

During  the  summer  of  181 1  the  relations  of  Russia  and 
France  were  becoming  every  day  more  dubious  and  when 
towards  the  close  of  it  the  Emperor  of  Austria  published 
a  rescript  granting  a  free  passage  through  his  territories 
to  the  troops  of  his  son-in-law,  England,  ever  watchful 
of  her  great  enemy,  perceived  clearly  that  France  was 
about  to  have  an  ally.  Alexander  had  long  since  ceased 
to  regard  the  friendship  of  the  great  man  as  a  blessing  of 
heaven.  Of  the  solemn  cordiality  of  Tilsit,  and  the  more 
recent  meeting  at  Erfurt,  there  remained  in  the  soul  of 
the  Czar  naught  but  the  displeasure  and  resentment 
arising  from  extinct  affection  and  deceived  hopes. 

From  the  moment  in  which  the  Russian  government 
began  to  reclaim  seriously  against  certain  parts  of  his 
conduct,  Napoleon  increased  by  degrees  his  military  force 
in  the  north  of  Germany,  and  the  Grand  Duchy  of 
Warsaw,  and  advanced  considerable  bodies  of  troops 
nearer  and  nearer  to  the  Czar's  Polish  frontier.  These 
preparations  were  met  by  similar  movements  on  the 
other  side  ;  yet,  during  many  months,  the  hope  of  termi- 
nating the  differences  by  negotiations  was  not  abandoned. 
The  regulations  of  the  Continental  System  were  especially 
objected  to  by  Russia,  and  the  Czar  having  lent  his  ear  to 
the  representations  of  the  English  cabinet,  asked  that 
they  be  dispensed  with  as  he  declared  he  could  no  longer 
submit  to  see  the  commerce  of  an  independent  Empire 
trammeled  for  the  purpose  of  serving  the  policy  of  a 
foreign  power. 

Napoleon  admitted  that  it  might  be  necessary  to  modify 
the  system  complained  of,  and  expressed  his  belief  that  it 
would  be  found  possible  to  devise  some  middle  course  by 
which  the  commercial  interests  of  France  and  Russia  might 


3IO  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

be  reconciled.  A  very  considerable  relaxation  in  the 
enforcement  of  the  Berlin  code  was  at  last  efifected,  and  a 
license  system  arranged  which  admitted  Alexander 
to  a  share  in  the  pecuniary  advantages.  Had  there  been 
no  cause  of  quarrel  between  these  powers  except  what 
appeared  on  the  face  of  their  negotiations,  it  is  hardly  to 
be  doubted  but  a  new  treaty  might  have  been  effected. 
The  Czar,  however,  from  the  hour  of  Marie  lyouise's 
marriage,  felt  a  conviction  that  the  diminution  of  the  Rus- 
sian power  in  the  north  of  Europe  would  form  the  next 
great  object  of  Napoleon's  ambition.  The  Czar  therefore 
assured  himself  that  if  war  must  come,  there  could  be  no 
question  as  to  the  policy  of  bringing  it  on  before  Austria 
had  entirely  recovered  from  the  effects  of  the  campaign  of 
Wagram,  and,  above  all,  while  the  Peninsula  continued 
to  occupy  200,000  of  Napoleon's  troops. 

As  concerned  the  Spanish  armies,  it  might  still  be  said 
that  King  Joseph  was  in  military  possession  of  all  but 
some  fragments  of  his  kingdom.  The  English  had  been 
victorious  in  Portugal  and  the  French  troops  in  Spain 
lost  more  lives  in  this  incessant  struggle,  wherein  no  glory 
could  be  achieved,  than  in  any  similar  period  spent  in  any 
regular  campaign  ;  and  Joseph,  while  the  question  of 
peace  or  war  with  Russia  was  yet  undecided,  became  so 
weary  of  his  situation,  that  he  earnestly  entreated  Napo- 
leon to  place  the  crown  of  Spain  on  some  other  head. 
Such  were  the  circumstances  under  which  the  eventful 
year  of  18 12  began. 

Most  persuasive  appeals  were  made  to  Napoleon  by  his 
ministers  to  refrain  from  entering  into  a  campaign  of 
aggression  against  Russia.  To  Fouche,  minister  of  police, 
Napoleon  is  reported  to  have  said,  in  reply,   "  Is  it  my 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  311 

fault  that  the  height  of  power  which  I  have  attained  com- 
pels me  to  ascend  to  the  dictatorship  of  the  world  ?  My 
destiny  is  not  yet  accomplished, — the  picture  exists  as  yet 
only  in  outline.  There  must  be  one  code,  one  court  of 
appeal,  and  one  coinage  for  all  Europe.  The  states  of 
Europe  must  be  melted  into  one  nation,  and  Paris  be  its 
capital." 

In  the  arguments  used  by  Napoleon's  advisers  at  this 
time  they  attempted  to  show  him,  among  other  things,  the 
great  extent  of  Alexander's  resources, — his  400,000 
regulars,  and  50,000  Cossacks,  already  known  to  be  in 
arms — and  the  enormous  population  on  which  he  had  the 
means  of  drawing  for  recruits  ;  the  enthusiastic  national 
feeling  of  the  Muscovites  ;  the  distance  of  their  country  ; 
the  severity  of  their  climate  ;  the  opportunity  which  a  war 
would  afford  to  England  of  urging  her  successes  in  Spain  ; 
and  the  chance  of  Germany  rising  in  insurrection  in  case 
of  any  reverses. 

With  the  greater  part  of  the  population  of  France,  and 
especially  with  the  army,  the  threatened  war  was  exceed- 
ingly popular.  Russia,  the  most  extensive  Empire  in 
Europe,  it  was  fondly  imagined,  was  on  the  point  of 
falling  before  the  power  of  the  Great  Nation  ;  and  Eng- 
land would  then  be  left  to  struggle,  unaided,  for  mastery 
with  France.  It  was  deemed  a  certain  pledge  of  victory, 
since  the  Emperor  himself  was  to  lead  his  veteran  legions 
to  the  new  scene  of  triumph. 

Cardinal  Fesch,  uncle  of  the  Emperor,  appealed  to  him 
on  other  grounds.  The  Cardinal  had  been  greatly  affected 
by  the  treatment  of  the  Pope,  and  he  contemplated  this 
new  war  with  dread, — as  likely  to  bring  down  the  ven- 
geance  of  heaven  upon  the  head  of  one  who  had  dared 


312  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

to  trample  on  its  vice-regent.  Napoleon  led  the  Car- 
dinal to  the  window,  opened  it,  and  pointing  upwards, 
said,  "  Do  you  see  yonder  star  ?  " 

"No  Sire,"  replied  the  Cardinal.  "But  I  see  it", 
answered  Napoleon  ;  and  the  churchman  was  dismissed. 

Trusting  to  this  star, — his  ' '  Star  of  Destiny  ' '  in  which 
he  yet  firmly  believed, — he  was  far  from  being  awed  when 
in  April,  i8 12,  Russia  declared  war  against  France.  It 
was  an  indefensible  violation  of  the  treaty  of  Tilsit,  but  it 
showed  Napoleon  that  Europe  was  determined  to  crush 
him,  and  he  rallied  the  forces  of  his  Empire  for  a  more 
terrible  conflict  than  he  had  yet  been  summoned  to. 

Not  satisfied  with  disposing  everything  for  war  in  the 
bosom  of  the  Empire,  Napoleon,  who  wished  to  march 
into  Russia  at  the  head  of  his  vast  army  of  Europe,  busied 
himself  in  forming  and  cementing,  externally,  powerful 
allies.  Two  treaties  were  concluded  to  this  effect  ;  the 
one  with  Prussia  and  the  other  with  Austria  on  the  24th 
of  February  and  14th  of  March,  18 12. 

Alexander's  minister  was  ordered  in  the  beginning  of 
April  to  demand  the  withdrawal  of  the  northern  troops, 
together  with  the  evacuation  of  the  fortress  in  Pomerania, 
in  case  the  French  government  still  entertained  a  wish  to 
negotiate.  Napleon  replied  that  he  was  not  accustomed 
to  regulate  the  distribution  of  his  forces  by  the  suggestions 
of  a  foreign  power.  The  ambassador  then  demanded  his 
passports  and  quitted  Paris. 

The  Emperor  of  France  was  confident,  and  seems  to 
have  entertained  no  doubt  of  his  success  in  the  coming 
campaign.  "The  war"  he  said,  "  is  a  wise  measure, 
called  for  by  the  true  interests  of  France  and  the  general 
welfare.     The    great    power    I    have    already    attained 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  313 

compels  me  to  assume  an  universal  dictatorship.  My  views 
are  not  ambitions.  I  desire  to  obtain  no  further  acquisi- 
tion ;  and  reserve  to  myself  only  the  glory  of  doing  good, 
and  the  blessings  of  posterity. ' ' 

I^eaving  Paris  with  the  Empress  on  the  9th  of  May, 
18 1 2,  on  his  way  to  join  the  Grand  Army  then  forming 
on  the  Polish  frontier,  the  imperial  pair  were  accom- 
panied by  a  continual  triumph.  Not  merely  in  France 
but  throughout  Germany  the  ringing  of  bells,  music  and 
the  most  enthusiastic  greetings  awaited  them  wherever 
they  appeared.  On  May  i6th,  the  Emperor  arrived  at 
Dresden  where  the  Emperor  of  Austria,  the  Kings  of 
Prussia,  Naples,  Wirtemberg,  and  Westphalia  and  almost 
every  German  sovereign  of  inferior  rank  had  been  invited 
to  meet  him.  He  had  sent  to  request  the  Czar  also  to 
appear  in  this  brilliant  assemblage,  as  a  last  chance  of  an 
amicable  arrangement,  but  the  messenger  could  not  obtain 
admission  to  Alexander's  presence. 

Marie  Louise  was  now  sent  back  to  France  and  the 
Russian  campaign  began.  Marshal  Ney,  with  one  great 
division  of  the  army,  had  already  passed  the  Vistula ; 
Junot,  with  another,  occupied  both  sides  of  the  Oder. 
The  Czar  was  known  to  be  at  Wilna,  collecting  the  forces 
of  his  immense  Empire  and  entrusting  the  general  arrange- 
ments of  the  approaching  campaign  to  Marshal  Barclay 
de  Tolly,  an  officer  who  had  been  born  and  educated  in 
Germany.  The  season  was  advancing  and  it  was  time 
that  the  question  of  peace  or  war  should  be  forced  to  a 
decision. 

Napoleon,  before  leaving  the  gay  court  of  Dresden, 
where  he  was  hailed  as  "  the  king  of  kings,"  dispatched 
Count  de  Narbonne  to  the  Emperor  Alexander  to  make 


314  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

a  fresh  attempt  at  negotiation  in  order  to  spare  the  shed- 
ding of  more  blood.  On  his  return  Narbonne  stated  that 
"  he  had  found  the  Russians  neither  depressed  nor  boast- 
ing ;  that  the  resuU  of  all  the  replies  of  the  Czar  was, 
that  they  preferred  war  to  a  disgraceful  peace  ;  that  they 
would  take  special  care  not  to  risk  a  battle  with  an  adver- 
sary so  formidable ;  and,  finally,  that  they  were  deter- 
mined to  make  every  sacrifice  to  protract  the  war,  and 
drive  back  the  invader. ' ' 

Napoleon  arrived  at  Dantzic  on  the  7th  of  June,  and 
during  the  fortnight  which  ensued,  it  was  known  that  the 
final  communications  between  him  and  Alexander  were 
taking  place.  On  the  22nd  the  French  Emperor  broke 
silence  in  a  bulletin  in  which  he  said:  "Soldiers,  Russia 
is  dragged  on  by  her  fate  ;  her  destiny  must  be  accom- 
plished. lyCt  us  march  ;  let  us  cross  the  Niemen,  let  us 
carry  war  into  her  territories.  Our  second  campaign  of 
Poland  will  be  as  glorious  as  the  first ;  but  our  second 
peace  shall  carry  with  it  its  own  guarantee.  It  shall  put 
an  end  forever  to  that  haughty  influence  which  Russia  has 
exercised  for  fifty  years  over  the  affairs  of  Europe. 

The  Czar  announced  the  termination  of  the  negotiations 
by  stating  the  innumerable  efforts  to  obtain  peace  and  con- 
cluded in  these  words  :  ' '  Soldiers,  you  fight  for  your 
religion,  your  liberty  and  your  native  land.  Your  Em- 
peror is  amongst  you ;  and  God  is  the  enemy  of  the 
aggressor. ' ' 

Napoleon  reviewed  the  greater  part  of  his  troops  on  the 
battlefield  of  Friedland,  and  having  assured  them  of  still 
more  splendid  victories  over  the  same  enemy,  issued  his 
final  orders  to  the  chief  ofiicers  of  his  army.  The  disposi- 
tion of  his   forces  when  the  campaign   commenced  was 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  315 

as  follows : — The  left  wing,  commanded  by  Macdonald, 
and  amounting  to  30,000  men,  had  orders  to  march  through 
Courland,  with  the  view,  if  possible,  of  outflanking  the 
Russian  right,  and  gaining  the  possession  of  sea  coast 
in  the  direction  of  Riga.  The  right  wing,  composed 
almost  wholly  of  Austrians,  30,000  in  number,  and  com- 
manded by  Schwartzenberg,  was  stationed  on  the  Vol- 
hynian  frontier.  Between  these  moved  the  various  corps 
forming  the  grand  central  army  under  the  general  super- 
intendence of  Napoleon  himself,  viz. ,  those  of  Davoust, 
Ney,  Jerome  Bonaparte,  Eugene  Beauharnais,  Prince 
Poniatowski,  Junot  and  Victor  ;  and  in  numbers  amounting 
to  250,000  men.  The  communication  of  the  centre  and 
the  left  was  maintained  by  the  corps  of  Oudinot,  and  those 
of  the  centre  and  the  extreme  right  by  the  corps  of 
Regnier,  who  had  with  him  the  Saxon  auxiliaries  and  the 
Polish  legion  of  Dombrowski.  The  chief  command  of  the 
whole  cavalry  of  the  host  was  assigned  to  Murat  who 
was  in  person  at  the  headquarters  of  the  Kmperor,  having 
immediately  under  his  order  three  divisions  of  horse — those 
of  Grouchy,  Montbrun  and  Nantousy.  Augereau,  with 
his  division  was  to  remain  in  the  north  of  Germany  to 
watch  over  Berlin  and  protect  the  communications  with 
France.  Napoleon's  base  of  operations,  as  will  be  seen  by 
the  map,  extended  over  full  one  hundred  leagues,  and  the 
heads  of  his  various  columns  were  so  distributed  that  the 
Russians  could  not  guess  whether  St.  Petersburg  or  Moscow 
formed  the  main  object  of  his  march. 

The  Russian  army,  under  de  Tolly,  had  its  headquarters 
at  Wilna,  and  consisted,  at  the  opening  of  the  campaign, 
of  120,000  men.     Considerably  to  the  left  lay  ' '  the  second 


3i6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

army,"  as  it  was  called,  of  80,000  men  under  Bag- 
ration  with  whom  were  Platoff  and  12,000  of  his 
Cossacks  ;  while  at  the  extreme  of  that  wing,  ' '  the  army 
of  Volhynia,"  20,000  strong,  commanded  by  Tormazofif, 
watched  Schwartzenberg.  On  the  right  of  de  Tolly  was 
Witgenstein  with  30,000  men  and  between  these  again  and 
the  sea,  the  corps  of  Essen  10,000  strong.  Behind  the 
whole  line  two  armies  of  reserve  were  rapidly  forming 
at  Novogorod  and  Smolensk,  each,  probably,  of  about 
20,000  men.  The  Russians  actually  in  the  field  at  the 
opening  of  the  campaign  were,  then,  as  nearly  as  can  be 
computed,  260,000 ;  while  Napoleon  was  prepared  to 
cross  the  Niemen  at  the  head  of  470,000  men. 

The  Czar  was  resolved  from  the  beginning  to  act  entirely 
on  the  defensive  and  to  draw  Napoleon,  if  possible,  into 
the  heart  of  his  own  country  ere  he  gave  him  battle.  The 
various  divisions  of  the  Russian  force  had  orders  to  fall 
back  leisurely  as  the  enemy  advanced,  destroying:  what- 
ever they  could  not  take  with  them,  and  halting 
only  at  certain  points  where  intrenched  camps  had  already 
been  formed  for  their  reception. 

The  difficulty  of  feeding  half  a  million  men  in  a  country 
deliberately  wasted  beforehand,  and  separated  by  so  great 
a  space  from  Germany,  to  say  nothing  of  France,  was 
sure  to  increase  at  every  hour  and  every  step.  Alex- 
ander's great  object  was ,  therefore ,  to  husband  his  own 
strength  until  the  Polar  winter  should  set  in  around  the 
strangers,  and  bring  the  miseries  which  he  thus  foresaw 
to  a  crisis. 

Napoleon,  on  the  other  hand,  had  calculated  on  being 
met  by  the  Russians  at,  or  even  in  advance  of  their  own 
frontier,  (as  he  had  been  by  the  Austrians  in  the  campaign 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  317 

of  Austerlitz  and  by  the  Prussians  in  that  of  Jena)  ;  of 
gaining  a  great  battle,  marching  immediately  either  to 
St.  Petersburg  or  Moscow,  and  dictating  a  peace  within 
the  walls  of  one  of  the  Czar's  own  palaces. 

On  June  24th  the  Grand  ImperialArmy,  consolidated  into 
three  masses,  began  their  passage  of  the  Niemen, — ^Jerome 
Bonaparte  at  Grodno,  Eugene  at  Pilony,  and  Napoleon 
himself  near  Kowno.  The  Emperor  rode  on  in  front  of 
his  army  at  two  o'clock  in  the  morning  to  reconnoitre  the 
banks,  escaping  observation  by  wearing  a  Polish  cloak 
and  hat ;  his  horse  stumbled  and  he  fell  to  the  ground. 
"A  bad  omen — a  Roman  would  return,"  some  one 
remarked.  After  a  minute  investigation  he  discovered  a 
spot  near  the  village  of  Poinemen,  above  Kowno,  suitable 
for  the  passage  of  his  troops,  and  gave  orders  for  three 
bridges  to  be  thrown  across  at  nightfall.  The  first  who 
crossed  the  river  were  a  few  sappers  in  a  boat.  All  was 
deserted  and  silent  on  the  foreign  soil,  and  no  one  appeared 
to  oppose  their  proceedings  with  the  exception  of  a  single 
armed  Cossack,  who  asked,  with  an  appearance  of  surprise, 
who  they  were  and  what  they  wanted.  "Frenchmen," 
was  the  reply  ;  "we  come  to  make  war  upon  your  Em- 
peror ;  to  take  Wilna,  and  deliver  Poland." 

The  Cossack  struck  spurs  into  his  horse  and  three  French 
soldiers  discharged  their  pieces  into  the  gloomy  depths  of 
the  woods,  where  they  had  lost  sight  of  him,  in  token  of 
hostility.  There  came  on  at  the  same  moment  a  tremen- 
dous thunder  storm.     Thus  began  the  fatal  invasion. 

The  passage  of  the  troops  was  impeded  for  a  time;  as  the 
bridge  over  the  Vilia,  a  stream  running  into  the  Niemen,had 
been  broken  by  the  Russians.  The  Emperor,  how- 
ever, despising  this  obstacle,  ordered  a  Polish  squadron 


3i8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

of  horse  to  swim  the  river.  They  instantly  obeyed  ;  but 
on  reaching  the  middle  the  current  proved  too  strong 
for  them,  broke  their  ranks,  and  swept  away  and  engulfed 
many  of  them.  Even  during  their  last  struggles  the 
brave  fellows  turned  their  faces  towards  the  shore,  where 
Napoleon  was  watching  their  unavailing  efforts  with  the 
deepest  emotion,  and  shouted  with  their  dying  breath, 
"  Vive  r  Kmpereur  !  " 

Three  of  these  noble-spirited  patriots  uttered  this  cry 
when  only  a  part  of  their  faces  was  above  the  waters. 
The  army  was  struck  with  a  mixture  of  horror  and  admira- 
tion. Napoleon  watched  the  scene  apparently  unmoved, 
but  gave  every  order  he  could  devise  for  the  purpose  of 
saving  as  many  of  them  as  possible,  though  with  little 
effect.  It  is  probable  that  his  strongest  feeling,  even  at 
the  time,  was  a  presentiment  that  this  disastrous  event 
was  but  the  beginning  of  others,  at  once  tremendous  and 
extensive. 

As  these  enormous  hosts  advanced  into  the  Russian 
territory  Alexander  withdrew  his  armies  as  deliberately  as 
the  invader  pushed  on.  Wilna,  the  capital  itself,  was 
evacuated  two  days  before  the  French  came  in  sight  of  it, 
and  Napoleon  took  up  his  quarters  there  on  the  28th  of 
June.  Here  it  was  found  that  all  the  magazines,  which 
he  counted  on  seizing,  had  been  burnt  before  the 
Russians  withdrew.  Already  the  imperial  bulletins  began 
to  denounce  the  ' '  barbarous  method  ' '  in  which  the  enemy 
resolved  to  conduct  his  defense. 

Napoleon  remained  twenty  days  at  Wilna  during 
which  time  he  redoubled  his  efforts  to  secure  quantities  of 
provisions  which  were  to  be  conveyed  along  with  his 
army  ;  these  were  to  render    him    independent    of  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  319 

countries  through  which  he  might  pass.  The  destruction 
of  the  magazines  at  Wilna  reassured  him  that  he  had 
judged  well  in  departing  from  the  old  system  of  maraud- 
ing, which  had  been  adopted  in  previous  campaigns 
with  success.  At  the  end  of  this  period  Napoleon 
became  aware  that  while  the  contracts  entered  into  by  his 
war  minister  were  adequate  for  the  army's  needs,  the 
handling  of  such  enormous  quantities  of  provisions,  under 
the  most  favorable  circumstances,  must  be  slow  and  in 
some  degree  uncertain.  Thus  the  Emperor  found  himself 
under  the  necessity,  either  of  laying  aside  his  invasion  for 
another  year,  or  of  urging  it  in  the  face  of  every  difficulty, 
all  of  which  he  had  forseen  except  the  slowness  of  a 
commissariat  department. 

When  Napoleon  arrived  at  Wilna,  he  was  regarded  by 
the  people  as  their  liberator.  A  deputation  was  sent  to 
him  by  the  Diet  of  Warsaw  entreating  his  assistance 
towards  the  restoration  of  their  ancient  kingdom,  the 
re-establishment  of  Poland  having  been  proclaimed. 
They  came,  they  said,  to  solicit  Napoleon  the  Great  to 
pronounce  these  few  words  :  '  *  Let  the  kindom  of  Poland 
exist ! ' '  and  then  it  would  exist ;  that  all  the  Poles  would 
devote  themselves  to  the  orders  of  the  fourth  French 
dynasty,  to  whom  ages  were  but  a  moment,  and  space  no 
more  than  a  point. 

Napoleon's  reply  was  not  satisfactory,  "  In  my  position, 
I  have  many  interests  to  reconcile, ' '  he  said  ' '  and  many 
duties  to  fulfill."  His  answer  was  so  extremely  guarded, 
that  the  Poles  became  dissatisfied  and  offered  little  or  no 
support  to  the  French.  "  Had  Poland  been  regen- 
erated ' '  says  Bourrienne,  ' '  Napoleon  would  have  found 
the  means  of  succeeding  in  his  expedition.     In  his  march 


320  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

upon  Moscow,  his  rear  and  supplies  would  have  been 
protected,  and  he  would  have  secured  that  retreat  which 
subsequent  reverses  rendered  but  too  needful. ' ' 

During  this  delay  Alexander  was  enabled  to  withdraw 
the  troops  which  he  had  been  maintaining  on  the  flanks 
of  his  European  domains  and  bring  them  all  to  the  assist- 
ance of  his  main  army.  The  enthusiasm  of  the  Russian 
nation  appeared  in  the  extraordinary  rapidity  with  which 
supplies  of  every  kind  were  poured  at  the  feet  of  the  Czar. 
From  every  quarter  he  received  voluntary  offers  of  men, 
money,  and  whatever  might  assist  in  the  prosecution  of 
the  war.  The  Grand  Duchess  Anne,  whose  hand  Napo- 
leon had  solicited,  set  the  example  by  raising  a  regiment 
on  her  estate.  PlatofF,  the  veteran  hetman  of  the  Cos- 
sacks, promised  his  only  daughter  and  200,000  rubles  to 
the  man  by  whose  hand  Napoleon  should  fall.  Noblemen 
everywhere  raised  troops,  and  displayed  their  patriotism 
by  serving  in  the  ranks  themselves  and  entrusting  the 
command  to  experienced  officers  chosen  by  the  gov- 
ernment. 

Napoleon  at  length  re-entered  the  field  without  having 
done  much  to  remedy  the  disorders  of  his  commissariat. 
He  at  first  determined  to  make  St.  Petersburg  his  mark, 
counting  much  on  the  effects  which  a  triumphal  entry 
into  the  capital  would  produce  throughout  the  country, 
but  .his  troops  meeting  with  some  reverses  at  Riga  and 
Dunaburg,  he  changed  his  plans  and  resolved  to  march  on 
Moscow  instead. 

The  centre  of  the  army  was  now  thrown  forward  under 
Davoust  with  the  view  of  turning  Barclay's  position  and 
cutting  off  his  communication  with  Bagration.  This 
brought   about  an  engagement  with    the   latter   on  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  321 

23rd  of  July  near  Mohilow,  the  French  remaining  in 
possession  of  the  town.  The  Russian  commander  in 
retreating  informed  Barclay  that  he  was  now  marching, 
not  on  Vitepsk,  but  on  Smolensk. 

During  the  three  days  of  the  25th,  26th  and  27  th  of 
July  the  French  were  again  victorious.  Napoleon  halted 
at  Vitepsk  for  several  days  in  order  to  allow  his  troops  to 
recuperate.  On  the  8th  of  August  the  Emperor  quitted 
Vitepsk  and  after  a  partial  engagement  at  Krasnoi  on  the 
14th,  came  in  sight  of  Smolensk  on  the  i6th.  On  the 
loth  of  August  Napoleon  was  observed  to  write  eight 
letters  to  Davoust,  and  nearly  as  many  to  each  of  his 
commanders.  ' '  If  the  enemy  defends  Smolensk  ' '  he  said 
in  one  of  his  letters  to  Davoust,  "as  I  am  tempted  to 
believe  he  will,  we  shall  have  a  decisive  engagement 
there,  and  we  cannot  have  too  large  a  force.  Orcha 
will  become  the  central  point  of  the  army.  Everything 
induces  me  to  believe  that  there  will  be  a  great  battle  at 
Smolensk." 

The  day  on  which  the  combat  at  Krasnoi  was  fought 
happened  to  be  the  Emperor's  birthday.  There  was  no 
intention  of  keeping  it  in  these  immense  solitudes,  and 
under  the  present  circumstances  of  peril  and  anxiety. 
There  could  be  no  heartfelt  festival  without  a  complete 
^  victory.  Murat  and  Ney ,  however,  on  giving  in  the  report 
of  their  recent  success,  could  not  refrain  from  compli- 
menting the  Emperor  on  the  anniversary  of  his  nativity. 
A  salute  from  a  hundred  pieces  of  artillery  was  now 
heard, — fired  according  to  their  orders. 

Napoleon,  with  a  look  of  displeasure,  observed,  that  in 
Russia  it  was  important  to  be  economical  of  French 
powder ;    but   he   was    informed  in   reply,    that  it  was 


322  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Russian  powder,  and  had  been  taken  the  night  before. 
The  idea  of  having  his  birthday  celebrated  at  the  expense 
of  the  Russians  made  Napoleon  smile. 

Prince  Eugene  also  paid  his  compliments  to  the  Emperor 
on  this  occasion,  but  was  cut  short  by  Napoleon  saying, 
' '  Everything  is  preparing  for  a  battle.  I  will  gain  that, 
and  then  we  will  see  Moscow. ' '  Segur  says  that  Eugene 
was  heard  to  observe,  on  leaving  the  imperial  tent, 
"  Moscow  will  destroy  us!" 

The  first  and  second  armies  of  the  Czar,  under  Bagra- 
tion  and  Barclay,  having  at  length  effected  a  junction, 
retired  with  120,000  men  behind  the  river  which  flows  at 
the  back  of  this  town. 

As  soon  as  Napoleon  saw  these  masses  of  men  approach- 
ing from  the  distance  he  clapped  his  hands  with  joy, 
exclaiming,  ' '  At  last  I  have  them  ! ' '  The  moment  that 
was  to  decide  the  fate  of  Russia  or  the  French  army,  had 
apparently  arrived. 

Napoleon  passed  along  the  line,  and  assigned  to  each 
commander  his  station,  leaving  an  extensive  plain  unoc- 
cupied in  front  between  himself  and  the  Dneiper.  This 
he  offered  to  the  enemy  as  a  field  of  battle,  but  instead  of 
accepting  the  challenge  Barclay  and  Bagration  were  seen 
next  morning  in  full  retreat. 

During  the  night  the  Russian  garrison  had  withdrawn 
and  joined  the  army  across  the  river.  Before  they  departed 
they  committed  the  city  to  flames,  and,  the  buildings 
being  chiefly  of  wood,  the  conflagration,  according  to  the 
French  bulletin,  "  resembling  in  its  fury  an  eruption  of 
Vesuvius."  "Never,"  said  Napoleon,  "was  war  con- 
ducted with  such  inhumanity  ;  the  Russians  treat  their 
own  country  as  if  it  were  that  of  an  enemy. ' '     It  now, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  323 

however,  began  to  be  difficult  in  the  extreme  to  extinguish 
the  flames  created  by  the  retreating  Russians.  The 
Emperor  in  person  used  every  effort  to  stop  the  pi  ogress  of 
the  devouring  element  and  render  succor  to  the  wounded. 
"  Napoleon,"  says  Gourgaud,  "  is  of  all  generals,  whether 
ancient  or  modern,  the  one  who  has  paid  the  greatest 
attention  to  the  wounded.  The  intoxication  of  victory 
never  could  make  him  forget  them,  and  his  first  thought, 
after  every  battle,  was  always  of  them." 

It  was  very  evident  that  the  Russian  commander  had  no 
desire  that  Napoleon  should  establish  himself  in  winter 
quarters  at  this  point.  From  Smolensk  the  Russians 
retreated  to  Dorogoburg,  and  thence  to  Viasma  ;  halting 
at  each  of  these  towns  and  deliberately  burning  them  in 
face  of  the  enemy.  Having  returned  to  Smolensk,  Napo- 
leon became  a  prey  to  the  most  harassing  reflections  on  the 
opportunity  which  had  so  lately  escaped  him  of  destroying 
the  whole  of  the  Russian  armj^,  and  attaining  a  speedy 
conclusion  of  peace.  Uncertainty  began  to  gain  ground 
with  him ;  vague  presentiments  made  him  desire  to 
terminate  as  soon  as  possible  this  distant  campaign.  ' '  We 
are  too  far  engaged  to  fall  back,"  said  the  Emperor  on 
arriving  at  Ougea ;  ' '  and  if  I  only  proposed  to  myself 
the  glory  of  warlike  exploits,  I  should  have  but  to  return 
to  Smolensk,  there  plant  my  eagles,  and  content  myself 
with  extending  my  right  and  left  arms  which  would 
crush  Wittgenstein  and  Tormasoff,  These  operations 
would  be  brilliant ;  they  would  finish  the  campaign  very 
satisfactorily,  but  they  would  not  terminate  the  war.  Our 
troops  may  advance,  but  are  incapable  of  remaining  sta- 
tionary, motion  may  keep  them  together  :  a  halt  or  retreat 
would  at  once  dissolve  them.     Ours  is  an  army  of  attack, 


324  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

not  of  defense  ;  of  operation,  not  of  position.  We  must 
advance  upon  Moscow,  gain  possess'ion  of  that  capital,  and 
there  dictate  terms  of  peace  to  the  Czar  !  Peace  is  before 
us  ;  we  are  but  eight  days  march  from  it ;  when  the  object 
is  so  nearly  attained,  it  would  be  unwise  to  deliberate. 
lyCt  us,  therefore,  march  upon  Moscow  ! ' ' 

At  this  period  Barclay  was  appointed  to  the  war  min- 
istry at  St.  Petersburg,  and  Kutusoff,  who  assumed  the 
command  in  his  stead,  was  beginning  to  doubt  whether  the 
system  of  retreat  had  not  been  far  enough  persisted  in. 
Napoleon  ordered  a  vigorous  pursuit  of  the  enemy,  hoping 
to  come  up  with  and  crush  him,  before  he  could  reach  his 
ancient  capital.  The  honor  of  marching  with  the  advance 
guard  devolved  upon  Marshal  Ney,  who  gloriously  justi- 
fied the  confidence  of  Napoleon  by  the  intelligence  and 
bravery  which  he  displayed  at  the  battle  of  Valoutina. 
This  was  a  most  sanguinary  fight.  Four  times  were  the 
Russians  driven  from  their  positions,  and  on  each  occasion, 
brought  up  reinforcements,  and  retook  them  ;  at  length 
they  were  finally  overthrown  by  the  valorous  Gudin  who 
charged  at  the  head  of  his  division,  the  vigor  and  impetu- 
osity of  which  led  the  enemy  to  believe  that  they  were 
exposed  to  the  shock  of  the  Imperial  Guard.  Thirty 
thousand  men  were  brought  into  action  on  either  side, 
and  the  slaughter  was  terrible.  Much  individual  bravery 
was  also  displayed  on  this  occasion.  But  for  the  failure 
of  Junot, — who  had  begun  to  show  signs  of  approaching 
insanity, — to  faithfully  execute  his  orders,the  victory  might 
have  been  decisive.  The  Kmperor  was  much  gratified, 
however,  at  the  conduct  of  his  troops  at  Valoutina.  He 
repaired  in  person  to  the  field  of  battle  and  passed  in  review 
the  divers  regiments  which  had  distinguished  themselves 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  325 

there.  * '  Arrived  at  the  7th  Hght  infantry  ' '  says  Gour- 
gaud,  "he  ordered  the  captains  to  advance,  and  said  to 
them,  '  Show  me  the  best  officer  of  the  regiment. '  '  Sire, 
they  are  all  good — '  '  that  is  no  answer  ;  come  at  least  to 
the  conclusion  of  Themistocles ;  '  I  am  the  first ;  the 
second  is  my  neighbor.'  " 

At  length  Captain  Moncey,  who  was  absent  on  account 
of  his  wounds,  was  named.  ' '  What, ' '  said  the  Emperor, 
' '  Moncey  who  was  my  page  !  the  son  of  the  marshal  ! 
Seek  another  !  "  "  Sire,  he  is  the  best. "  "  Ah,  well  ! ' ' 
said  Napoleon,  "  I  shall  give  him  the  decoration." 

Up  till  this  time  the  127th  regiment  had  marched  with- 
out an  eagle,  having  had  no  opportunity  of  distinguishing 
itself.  The  Imperial  ensign  was  now  delivered  to  it  by 
Napoleon's  own  hands. 

The  new  Russian  general  at  length  resolved  to  comply 
with  the  clamorous  entreaties  of  his  troops  and  fixed  on  a 
strong  position  between  Borodino  and  Moskowa  on  the 
highroad  to  Moscow,  where  he  determined  to  await  the 
attack  of  Napoleon  who  was  pushing  the  war  vigorously, 
sword  in  hand,  in  the  hopes  of  closing  hostilities  by  one 
pitched  battle. 

On  the  5th  of  September  Napoleon  came  in  sight  of  the 
position  of  KutusofF  and  succeeded  in  carrying  a  redoubt 
which  had  been  erected  to  guard  the  high-road  to  Moscow. 
This  was  efifected  at  the  bayonet  point,  though  not  with- 
out great  slaughter  on  either  side. 

The  next  day  the  two  armies  lay  in  presence  of  each  other 
preparing  for  a  great  contest.  On  the  eve  of,  and  before 
daybreak  on  the  6th,  the  Emperor  was  on  horseback, 
wrapped  in  his  gray  coat,  and  exhibited  all  the  alacrity  of 
his  younger  days.      On  his  return  to  headquarters  he 


326  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

found  a  courier  had  arrived  with  dispatches  announcing 
Marmont's  defeat  and  the  deHverance  of  Salamanca  into 
the  hands  of  WelHngton,  M.  de  Beaussetalso  arrived  bring- 
ing from  Paris  a  portrait  of  Napoleon's  son  which  deeply- 
moved  the  Emperor.  He  caused  the  picture  to  be  placed 
outside  his  tent  where  it  was  viewed  by  his  officers.  He 
then  said  to  his  secretary,  ' '  Take  it  away,  and  guard  it 
carefully ;  he  sees  a  field  of  battle  too  early. ' ' 

The  Russians  were  posted  on  an  elevated  plain  ;  having 
a  wood  on  their  right  flank,  their  left  on  one  of  the 
villages,  and  a  deep  ravine,  the  bed  of  a  small  stream,  in 
front.  Extensive  field-works  covered  every  prominent 
point  of  this  naturally  very  strong  ground  ;  and  in  the 
centre  of  the  whole  line,  a  gentle  eminence  was  crowned 
by  an  enormous  battery,  serving  as  a  species  of  citadel. 
The  Russian  army  numbered  about  120,000  men  against 
which  were  opposed  almost  an  equal  number  of  French 
troops.  In  artillery,  also,  the  armief^  were  equal.  The 
Emperor  fixed  his  headquarters  in  the  redoubt  whence  he 
had  issued  the  order  for  battle  in  the  morning  ;  the  eleva- 
tion of  the  ground  permitted  him  to  observe  the  greatest 
part  of  the  Russian  line,  'and  the  various  movements  of  the 
enemy.  The  young  guard  and  the  cavalry  were  before 
him,  and  the  old  guard  in  his  rear. 

Before  the  engagement  Napoleon  addressed  his  troops: 
' '  Here  is  the  battle  you  have  looked  for, ' ' — he  said,  ' '  for 
it  brings  us  plenty;  good  winter -quarters,  and  a  safe 
retreat  to  France.  Behave  yourselves  so  that  posterity 
may  say  of  each  of  you, — '  He  was  in  that  great  battle 
beneath  the  walls  of  Moscow. '  ' ' 

At  4  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  the  7th  the  French 
advanced  under  cover  of  a  thick  fog,  and   assaulted  at 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  327 

once  the  centre,  the  right,  and  the  left  of  KutusofE's 
position.  Such  was  the  impetuosity  of  the  charge  that 
they  drove  the  Russians  from  their  redoubts  but  this  was 
for  a  short  time  only  as  they  rallied  under  every  line  of  the 
fire  from  the  French,  and  instantly  advanced.  Russian 
peasants  who,  till  that  hour,  had  never  seen  war,  and 
who  still  wore  their  usual  rustic  dress,  distinguished  only 
by  a  cross  sewed  on  it  in  front,  threw  themselves  into  the 
thickest  of  the  combat.  As  they  fell,  others  rushed  on 
and  filled  their  places.  Some  idea  may  be  formed  of  the 
obstinacy  of  the  contest  from  the  fact  that  one  division  of 
the  Russians  which  mustered  30,000  in  the  morning  only 
8,000  survived.  These  men  had  fought  in  close  order, 
and  unshaken,  under  the  fire  of  eighty  pieces  of  artillery. 
The  Russians  had  the  advantage  of  ground,  of  speaking 
but  one  language,  of  one  uniform,  of  being  a  single 
nation,  and  fighting  for  the  same  cause.  By  2  o'clock, 
however,  according  to  the  imperial  buhetin,  all  hope  had 
abandoned  the  enemy  ;  the  battle  was  at  an  end,  although 
the  cannonade  was  not  yet  discontinued.  The  Russians 
fought  for  their  retreat  and  safety,  but  no  longer  for  the 
victory. 

The  result  of  this  terrible  day,  in  which  the  French 
fifed  sixty -six  thousand  cannon  balls,  was  that  while  the 
Russians  were  defeated  they  were  far  from  routed .  ' '  How- 
ever great  may  have  been  the  success  of  this  day,"  says 
Segur,  "it  might  have  been  still  more  so  if  Napoleon, 
instead  of  finishing  the  battle  at  4  o'clock  in  the  after- 
noon had  profited  by  the  remainder  of  the  day  to  bring 
his  Guard  into  the  field,  and  thus  changed  the  defeat  of 
the  enemy  into  a  complete  rout. ' ' 


328  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

That  the  Kmperor  suffered  intensely  during  the  day  is 
well-known.  He  had  passed  a  restless  night  and  a  violent 
and  incessant  cough  cut  short  his  breathing. 

As  to  his  desire  of  preserving  a  reserve  uninjured,  and 
forming  it  from  a  chosen  and  devoted  body,  such  as  his 
Guard,  Napoleon  explained  it  to  his  marshals  by  saying: 
' '  And  if  there  should  be  a  second  battle  tomorrow,  what 
could  I  oppose  to  it  ?  " 

General  Gourgaud  has  added:  "  If  the  Guard  had 
been  destroyed  at  the  battle  of  Moskowa,  the  French 
army,  of  which  their  guard  constantly  formed  the  core, 
and  whose  courage  it  supported  during  the  retreat,  could 
scarcely  have  ever  repassed  the  Niemen." 

This  refusal  of  Napoleon  to  engage  his  Guard  is  gen- 
erally held  to  have  been  one  of  his  greatest  military  lapses. 
At  the  time  they  were  demanded  by  Ney  and  others  the 
enemy  was  all  but  beaten  and  the  appearance  of  the 
Emperor  at  their  head  would  in  all  probability  have  closed 
the  day  with  a  great  victory  to  his  credit,  and,  according  to 
the  opinions  of  many  military  men  of  this  day,  have  ended 
the  Russian  campaign  by  this  one  battle. 

Night  found  either  army  on  the  ground  they  had  occu- 
pied at  daybreak.  The  number  of  guns  and  prisoners 
taken  by  the  French  and  the  Russians  was  about  equal  ; 
and  of  either  host  there  had  fallen  not  less  than  40,000 
men.  Some  accounts  give  the  total  number  of  the  slain 
as  100,000. 

The  Russian  commander  fought  desperately  but  was  at 
last  compelled  to  retire.  His  army  was  the  mainstay  of 
the  country  and  had  it  been  destroyed,  the  Czar  would 
have  found  it  difiicult  to  form  another.  Having  ascer- 
tained then  the  extent  of  his  loss    and  buried  his  dead, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  329 

among  whom  was  the  gallant  Bagration,  the  Russian 
withdrew  from  his  intrenchment  and  marched  on  Mojaisk. 
Marshal  Ney  was  rewarded  for  the  noble  share  he  had  in 
the  success  of  this  battle,  by  the  title  of  Prince  of  the 
Moskowa. 

The  small  number  of  prisoners  taken  at  Moskowa, — or 
Borodino  as  the  battle  is  frequently  called, — the  circum- 
stance of  the  Russians  being  able  to  carry  away  their 
wounded,  and  many  other  considerations  amply  prove  that 
such  another  contest  would  have  ruined  Napoleon.  The 
Russians  ordered  Te  Deums  to  be  chanted  at  Moscow  in 
honor  of  what  they  termed  a  victory  for  themselves  and 
Napoleon  sent  similar  instructions  to  his  bishops  in  France. 

Napoleon  was  so  fortunate  as  to  be  joined  exactly  at  this 
time  by  two  fresh  divisions  from  Smolensk  which  nearly 
restored  his  muster  to  what  it  had  been  when  the  battle 
began,  and  thus  reinforced  commanded  that  the  pursuit  be 
pushed.  On  the  9th  the  French  vanguard  came  in  sight 
of  the  Russian  rear  again  and  Napoleon  prepared  for 
battle  but  once  more  Kutusoff  fled  precipitately  in  the 
direction  of  the  capital. 

The  Kmperor  reached  the  "Hill  of  Salvation, " — so  called 
because  from  that  eminence  the  Russian  traveler  obtains 
his  first  view  of  the  ancient  metropolis  affectionately  called 
' '  Mother  Moscow, ' '  and  hardly  less  sacred  in  his  eyes  than 
Jerusalem.  The  soldiery  beheld  with  joy  and  exultation 
the  magnificent  extent  of  the  place  ;  its  mixture  of  Gothic 
steeples  and  oriental  domes  ;  and  high  over  all  the  rest 
the  huge  towers  of  the  Kremlin,  at  once  the  palace  and 
citadel  of  the  old  Czars.  The  cry  of  ' '  Moscow  !  Mos- 
cow ! ' '  ran  through  the  lines.  Napoleon  himself  reined 
in  his  horse,  and  exclaimed,  "Behold,  at  last,  that  cel- 
ebrated city  ! ' ' 


330  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

It  was  soon  observed  that  no  smoke  came  from  the 
chimneys,  and  again,  that  no  military  appeared  on  the 
battlements  of  the  old  walls  and  towers.  Murat,  who  com- 
manded the  van,  now  came  riding  up  and  informed  the  Em- 
peror that  he  had  held  a  parley  with  Milarodo witch, general 
of  the  Russian  rear-guard,  and  that  he  had  declared  that 
unless  two  hours  were  granted  for  the  safe  withdrawing  of 
his  troops,  he  would  at  once  set  fire  to  Moscow.  Napo- 
leon immediately  granted  the  armistice.  When  the 
Kmperor  halted  at  the  barrier  he  had  the  exterior  of  the 
city  reconnoitred  ;  Eugene  was  ordered  to  surround  it  on 
the  north,  and  Poniatowski  to  embrace  the  south,  whilst 
Davoust  remained  near  the  centre  ;  the  Guard  was  then 
ordered  to  march,  and,  under  the  command  of  I^efebvre, 
Napoleon  entered  Moscow,  and  prepared  to  establish 
himself  in  the  city.  He  found  the  capital  deserted  by 
all  but  the  very  lowest  and  most  wretched  of  its  vast  pop- 
ulation. The  French  soldiers  soon  spread  themselves  over 
its  innumerable  streets  filling  the  magnificent  palaces,  the 
bazaars  of  the  merchants,thechurches,convents  and  public 
buildings  of  every  description.  The  meanest  soldier 
clothed  himself  in  silk  and  furs  and  drank  at  his  pleasure 
the  costliest  wines.  Napoleon,  perplexed  at  the  abandon- 
ment of  so  great  a  city,  had  great  difficulty  in  keeping 
together  30,000  men  under  Murat,  who  followed  Milar- 
odowitch,  and  watched  the  walls  on  that  side. 

At  midnight  the  Emperor,  who  had  retired  to  rest  in  a 
suburban  palace,  was  awakened  by  the  cry  of  ' '  Fire  ! ' ' 
The  chief  market-place  was  in  flames  and  it  was  some 
hours  before  it  could  be  extinguished.  While  the  fire  still 
burned  Napoleon  established  his  quarters  in  the  Kremlin, 
and  wrote  by  that  fatal  light,  a  letter  to  the  Czar, containing 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  331 

proposals  for  peace.  In  his  letter  lie  assured  the  Czar, 
' '  that  whatever  might  be  the  vicissitudes  of  war,  nothing 
could  diminish  the  esteem  entertained  for  him  by  his  friend 
of  Tilsit  and  Krfurt." 

The  letter  was  committed  to  a  prisoner  of  rank  but  no 
answer  was  ever  received  to  it.  On  the  next  day  the 
flames  broke  out  again  and  in  a  short  time  various  detached 
parts  of  the  city  were  in  flames,  combustibles  and  matches 
were  found  in  many  places,  and  the  water-pipes  cut  so  that 
attempts  to  control  the  spreading  flames  were  almost  use- 
less. The  wind  changed  three  times  in  the  course  of  the 
night  and  the  flames  always  broke  out  again  with  new 
vigor  in  the  quarter  from  which  the  prevailing  breeze  blew 
right  on  the  Kremlin.  It  was  now  found  that  the  gov- 
ernor, in  abandoning  the  city,  had  set  all  the  malefactors 
in  the  numerous  jails  at  liberty. 

For  four  days  the  fire  continued  with  more  or  less  fury 
and  four-fifths  of  the  city  was  wholly  consumed.  ' '  Pal- 
aces and  temples,"  says  Karamsin  the  Russian  author, 
"  monuments  of  arts  and  miracles  of  luxury,  the  remains 
of  ages  long  since  past,  and  the  creation  of  yesterday,  the 
tombs  of  ancestors,  and  the  cradles  of  children  were  indis- 
criminately destroyed.  Nothing  was  left  of  Moscow  save 
the  memory  of  her  people,  and  their  deep  resolution  to 
avenge  her  fall." 

On  the  third  night  the  equinoctial  gale  arose,  the  Krem- 
lin itself,  from  which  point  Napoleon  had  witnessed  the 
spread  of  this  fearful  devastation,  took  fire  and  it  became 
doubtful  whether  it  would  be  possible  for  the  Kmperor  to 
withdraw  in  safety. 

About  4  o'clock  in  the  morning,  one  of  Napoleon's 

ofi&cers  awoke  him,  to  inform  him  of  the  conflagration. 
22 


332  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

He  had  thrown  himself  on  the  bed  only  a  few  minutes 
before,  after  having  dictated  orders  to  the  various  corps 
of  his  army,  and  labored  with  his  secretaries.  He  watched 
from  the  windows  the  course  of  the  fire  which  devoured 
his  fair  conquest,  and  the  exclamation  burst  from  him  : 
' '  This  is  then  how  they  make  war  !  The  civilization  of  St. 
Petersburg  has  deceived  us  ;  they  are  indeed  Scythians  ! ' ' 

During  several  hours  he  remained  immovable  at  the 
Kremlin.  The  palace  was  now  surrounded  by  the  flames 
and  he  consented  to  be  conducted  out  of  the  city.  He 
rode  out  through  streets  in  many  parts  arched  over  with 
flames,  and  buried,  where  this  was  not  the  case,  in  one 
dense  mantle  of  smoke.  ' '  It  was  then ' '  says  Segur, 
"  that  we  met  the  Prince  of  Eckmuhl  (Davoust).  Thi? 
marshal,  who  had  been  wounded  at  the  Moskowa,  had 
desired  to  be  carried  back  among  the  flames  to  rescue 
Napoleon,  or  to  perish  with  him.  He  threw  himself  into 
his  arms  with  transport;  the  Emperor  received  him  kindly, 
but  with  that  composure  which  in  danger  he  never  lost 
for  a  moment." 

' '  Not  even  the  fictions  of  the  burning,  of  Troy ' '  said 
the  Emperor,  ' '  though  heightened  by  all  the  powers  of 
poetry,  could  have  equalled  the  destruction  of  Moscow. ' ' 

It  was  in  the  afternoon  of  the  i6th  that  Napoleon  left 
Moscow  and  before  nightfall  had  reached  Petrowsky,  a 
country  palace  of  the  Czar,  about  a  league  distant,  and 
where  he  fixed  his  headquarters. 

On  the  2oth,  the  flames  being  at  length  subdued,  or 
exhausted.  Napoleon  returned  to  the  Kremlin  still  hoping 
that  the  Czar  would  relent  on  learning  of  the  destruction 
of  his  ancient  and  sacred  metropolis.  Day  after  day  passed 
and  still  there  came  no  answer  from   Alexander.     The 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  333 

Emperor's  position  was  becoming  hourly  more  critical. 
On  every  side  there  was  danger  ;  the  whole  forces  of  Rus- 
sia appeared  to  be  gathering  around  him.  Then,  too,  the 
season  was  far  advanced  ;  the  stern  winter  of  the  North 
was  at  hand  and  the  determined  hostility  of  the  peasants 
prevented  the  smallest  supplies  of  provisions  from  being 
introduced  into  the  capital. 

Daru  advised  the  Emperor  to  draw  in  all  his  detach- 
ments, convert  Moscow  into  an  intrenched  camp,  kill  and 
salt  every  horse,  and  trust  to  foraging  parties  for  the  rest 
— in  a  word  to  lay  aside  all  thoughts  of  keeping  up  com- 
munication with  France,  or  Germany,  or  even  Poland  ; 
and  issue  forth  from  Moscow,  with  his  army  entire  and 
refreshed,  in  the  commencement  of  the  Spring.  But 
Napoleon  feared,  and  not  without  reason,  that  were  he 
and  his  army  cut  off  from  all  communication,  during  six 
months,  the  Prussians  and  the  Austrians  might  throw  off 
the  yoke  ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  the  Russians  could 
hardly  fail,  in  the  course  of  so  many  months,  to  accumu- 
late, in  their  own  country, a  force  before  which  his  isolated 
army,  on  re-issuing  from  their  winter  quarters  would 
appear  but  a  mere  speck. 

Another  letter  was  now  sent  by  Napoleon  to  the  head- 
quarters of  Kutusoff  for  Alexander.  Count  lyauriston 
was  received  by  the  commander  in  the  midst  of  his  generals 
and  answered  with  such  civility  that  the  envoy  doubted  not 
of  success.  In  the  end,  however,  he  was  informed  that 
no  negotiations  could  be  entertained  and  he  declared  his 
inability  to  even  sanction  the  journey  of  any  French  mes- 
senger to  St.  Petersburg,  without  the  authorization  of  his 
master.  Kutusoff  offered,  finally,  to  send  Napoleon's 
letter  by  one  of  his  own  aides-de-camp,  and  to  this  Eauriston 


334  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

was  obliged  to  agree.  The  interview  occurred  on  the 
6.th  of  October  ;  no  answer  could  be  expected  before  the 
2oth.  There  had  already  been  one  fall  of  snow,  and  the 
dangers  attendant  on  a  longer  sojourn  in  the  ruined  cap- 
ital were  increasing  every  hour. 

It  was  under  such  circumstances  that  Napoleon  lingered 
on  in  the  Kremlin  until  the  19th  of  October  when  he 
decided  to  depart  from  Moscow.  That  evening  several 
divisions  were  put  in  motion  and  the  metropolis  was 
wholly  evacuated  on  the  morning  of  the  22nd.  This 
sudden  departure  was  due  in  part  to  Murat's  engagement 
with  Bennigsen  at  Vincovo  on  the  1 8th, the  day  on  which 
the  suspension  of  arms  expired,  causing  him  to  lose  3,000 
prisoners  and  forty  pieces  of  artillery.  General  Milaro- 
dowitch,  during  a  conversation  with  Murat  a  few  days 
before,  talked  very  frankly  of  the  situation.  Murat  looked 
upon  peace  as  indispensable  to  Russia,  and  was  enlarging 
upon  ' '  the  continued  success  of  the  French ' '  and  having 
opened  for  them  the  gates  of  Moscow.  "  Yes  General, " 
replied  Milarodo witch,  briskly,  "the  campaign  is  over 
with  the  French,  and  it  is  now  time  it  should  commence 
with  the  Russians." 

On  the  19th  of  October  the  Emperor  with  6,000  chosen 
horse  began  his  journey  towards  Smolensk,  the  care  of 
bringing  up  the  main  body  being  given  to  Eugene  Beau- 
harnais,  while  Ney  commanded  the  rear. 

As  Napoleon  left  Moscow  he  said  to  Mortier :  "Pay 
every  attention  to  the  sick  and  wounded.  Sacrifice  your 
baggage, — everything  to- them.  I^et  the  wagons  be 
devoted  to  their  use,  and,  if  necessary  your  own  saddles. 
This  was  the  course  I  pursued  at  St.  Jean  d'  Acre.  The 
o£&cers  will  first  relinquish  their  horses,   then  the  sub- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  335 

officers,  and  finally  the  men.  Assemble  the  generals  and 
ofifcers  under  your  command,  and  make  them  sensible 
how  necessary,  in  their  circumstances,  is  humanity.  The 
Romans  bestowed  civic  crowns  on  those  who  preserved 
their  citizens  ;  I  shall  not  be  less  grateful." 

From  the  commencement  of  this  march  hardly  a  day 
elapsed  in  which  some  new  calamity  did  not  befall  those 
hitherto  invincible  legions.  The  Cossacks  of  PlatofE 
came  upon  one  division  at  Kolotsk,  near  Borodino,  on  the 
ist  of  November,  and  gave  them  a  total  defeat.  A  second 
division  was  attacked  the  day  after  and  with  nearly  equal 
success,  by  the  irregular  troops  of  Count  Orloff  DenizofE. 
The  French  now  became  separated  by  attacks  made  by 
Milarodowitch  and  the  soldiers  began  to  suffer  from 
extreme  hunger.  On  the  6th  of  November  their  miseries 
were  heightened  by  the  setting  in  of  the  Russian  winter. 
Thenceforth, between  the  heavy  columns  of  regular  troops 
which  on  every  side  watched  and  threatened  them,  the 
continued  assaults  of  the  Cossacks  who  hung  around  them 
in  clouds  by  day  and  by  night,  rushing  on  every  detached 
party  like  the  Mamelukes  of  Egypt,  disturbing  every 
bivouac,  breaking  up  bridges  before,  and  destroying 
every  straggler  behind  them,  to  the  terrible  severity  of 
the  climate,  the  frost,  the  snow,  the  wind — the  sufferings 
of  this  once  magnificent  army  were  such  as  have  hardly 
been  equalled  in  the  world's  history. 

The  enormous  train  of  artillery  which  Napoleon  brought 
from  Moscow  was  soon  diminished  and  the  roads  were 
blocked  up  with  the  spoils  of  the  city,  abandoned  of 
necessity,  as  the  means  of  transport  failed.  The  horses, 
having  been  ill-fed  for  months,  were  altogether  unable  to 
resist  the  united  effects  of  cold  and  fatigue.     They  sank 


336  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

and  stiffened  by  hundreds  and  by  thousands.  The  starv- 
ing soldiery  slew  others  of  these  animals  that  they  might 
drink  their  warm  blood  and  wrap  themselves  in  their  yet 
reeking  skins  !     All  discipline  had  vanished. 

They  were  able  to  keep  together  some  battalions  of  the 
rear-guard,  and  present  a  bold  aspect  to  the  pursuers,  the 
heroic  Marshal  Ney  not  disdaining  to  bear  a  firelock, 
and  share  the  meanest  fatigues  of  his  brave  followers. 

The  main  Russian  army,  having  advanced  side  by  side 
with  the  French,  was  now  stationed  to  the  southwest  of 
Smolensk,  in  readiness  to  break  the  enemy's  march 
whenever  Kutusoff  should  choose.  Milarodowitch  and 
Platoff  were  hanging  close  behind,  and  thinning  every 
hour  the  miserable  bands  which  had  no  longer  heart,  nor, 
for  the  most  part,  arms  of  any  kind  wherewith  to  resist 
them.  All  the  reports  brought  to  headquarters  by  the 
ofiScers,  represented  Kutusoff  as  disposed  to  oppose  the 
French  army  and  risk  a  battle,  rather  than  abandon  his 
positions  which  were  on  the  road  he  wished  to  close 
against  the  continued  retreat  of  the  Emperor.  Napoleon 
was  not  convinced  by  these  reports.  At  daybreak, 
mounted  on  horseback,  he  started  out  to  reconnoitre  the 
camp  and  disposition  of  the  enemy  who  was  preparing  to 
dispute  Kalouga.  As  the  Emperor  arrived  near  Maloja- 
roslawetz  a  body  of  Cossacks  was  seen  approaching. 
Napoleon  and  his  escort  prepared  to  defend  themselves. 
Rapp  had  scarcely  time  to  seize  his  chief's  bridle  and 
say,  "It  is  the  Cossacks,  turn  back!"  ere  a  fierce  band 
galloped  towards  them.  The  Emperor,  scorning  flight, 
drew  his  sword,  and  reigned  his  horse  to  the  side  of  the 
road.  The  troop  dashed  past  wounding  Rapp  and  his 
horse.    "When  Napoleon  saw  my    horse    covered  with 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  337 

blood,"  says  Rappinhis  "Memoirs,"  "he  demanded  if  I 
had  been  wounded.  I  replied  that  I  had  come  off  with  a  few 
bruises,  upon  which  he  began  to  laugh  at  our  adventure, 
although  I,  for  my  part,  found  it  anything  but  amusing." 
The  appearance  of  Marshal  Bessieres,  who  arrived  at 
the  head  of  some  squadrons  of  grenadiers  of  the  Guard, 
sufficed  to  stay  the  disorder  and  put  the  Cossacks  to  flight. 

The  Grand  Army  had  mustered  120,000  men  when  it  left 
Moscow.  Including  the  fragments  of  various  divisions 
which  met  the  Emperor  at  Smolensk  it  was  with  great 
difficulty  that  40,000  men  could  now  be  brought  together 
in  anything  like  fighting  condition.  These  Napoleon 
divided  into  four  columns,  nearly  equal  in  numbers  ;  of 
the  first  which  included  6,000  of  the  Imperial  Guard,  he 
himself  took  the  command,  and  marched  with  it  towards 
Krasnoi.  The  second  corps  was  that  of  Eugene  Beauhar- 
nais ;  the  third  Davoust's ;  and  the  fourth  destined  for 
the  perilous  service  of  the  rear,  and  accordingly  strength- 
ened with  3,000  of  the  Guard,  was  intrusted  to  the  guid- 
ance of  Marshal  Ney. 

Eugene  and  Ney  at  length  entered  Smolensk.  The 
name  of  that  town  had  hitherto  been  the  only  spell  that 
preserved  any  hope  within  the  soldiers  of  the  retreat. 
There,  they  had  been  told,  they  should  find  food,  clothing, 
and  supplies  of  all  kinds,  and  there  being  once  more 
assembled  under  the  eye  of  Napoleon,  speedily  reassume 
an  aspect  such  as  none  of  the  northern  barbarians  would 

dare  to  brave. 

These  expectations  were  far  from  realized.  Smolensk 
had  been  almost  entirely  destroyed  by  the  Russians  in  the 
early  part  of  the  campaign.  Its  ruined  walls  afforded 
only  a  scant  shelter  to  the  famished  and  shivering  fugitives, 


338  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

and  the  provisions  assembled  there  were  so  inade- 
quate to  the  demands  of  the  troops,  that  after  the  lapse  of 
a  few  days  Napoleon  found  himself  under  the  necessity  of 
once  more  renewing  his  disastrous  march.  While  at 
Smolensk  Napoleon  received  dispatches  from  France, 
informing  him  that  a  false  report  of  his  death  had  occa- 
sioned an  outbreak  and  which  threatened  for  a  brief  period 
the  colossal  Empire  he  controlled.  On  receiving  the  news 
he  exclaimed,  with  deep  feeling,  and  in  the  presence  of  his 
generals:  "  Does  my  power  then,  hang  on  so  slender  a 
thread?  Is  my  tenure  of  sovereignty  so  frail  that  a  single 
person  can  place  it  in  jeopardy?  Truly  my  crown  is  but 
ill-fitted  to  my  head  if,  in  my  very  capital,  the  audacious 
attempt  of  two  or  three  adventurers  can  make  it  totter. 
After  twelve  years  of  government, — after  my  marriage — 
after  the  birth  of  my  son — after  my  oaths — my  death 
would  have  again  plunged  the  country  into  the  midst  of 
revolutionary  horrors.  And  Napoleon  II.,  was  he  no 
longer  thought  of  ?  " 

Napoleon  left  Smolensk  on  the  13th  of  November,  18 12, 
having  ordered  that  the  other  corps  should  follow  him  on 
the  14th,  15th  and  i6th  respectively  thus  interposing  a 
day's  march  between  every  two  divisions. 

It  seems  to  be  generally  accepted  that  the  name  of 
Napoleon  saved  whatever  part  of  his  host  finally  escaped 
from  the  territory  of  Russia.  KutusoflF  appears  to  have 
exhausted  the  better  part  of  his  daring  at  Borodino  and 
thenceforth  adhered  to  the  plan  of  avoiding  battle.  He 
seems  to  have  been  unable  to  again  shake  off  that  awe 
which  had  been  the  growth  of  a  hundred  of  Napoleon's 
victories; — had  he  been  able  to  do  so  the  Emperor  would 
probably  have  died  on  some  battlefield  between  Smolensk 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  339 

and  the  Beresina,  or  been  taken  a  prisoner  in  the  country 
which  three  months  before  he  had  invaded  at  the  head  of 
half  a  million  of  men.  The  army  of  Napoleon  had  been 
already  reduced  to  a  very  small  fragment  of  its  original 
strength,  and  even  that  fragment  was  now  split  into  four 
divisions  against  any  one  of  which  it  would  have  been 
easy  to  concentrate  a  force  overwhelmingly  superior. 

The  Bmperor  reached  Krasnoi  unmolested  although  the 
whole  of  the  Russian  army,  moving  on  a  parallel  road, 
were  in  full  observation  of  his  march;  Eugene,  who 
followed  him,  was,  however,  intercepted  on  his  way  by 
Milarodowitch,  and  after  sustaining  the  contest  gallantly 
against  very  disproportionate  numbers,  and  a  terrible 
cannonade,  was  at  length  saved  only  by  the  fall  of  night. 
During  the  darkness  Eugene  executed  a  long  and  hazardous 
detour,  and  joined  the  Bmperor  at  Krasnoi  on  the  17th  ; 
the  two  leading  divisions  now  united,  mustered  scarcely 
15,000  men.  It  was  then  thought  advisable  to  await  the 
arrival  of  Davoust's  and  Ney's  divisions  before  proceeding. 
Kutuso'Sf  was  again  urged  to  seize  this  opportunity  of 
pouring  an  irresistible  force  on  the  French  position,  and 
although  he  thinned  the  ranks  of  the  enemy  with  100 
pieces  of  artillery  well  placed,  he  ventured  on  no  closer 
collision  than  one  or  two  isolated  cavalry  charges.  Napo- 
leon, therefore,  held  his  ground  in  face  of  all  that  host, 
until  nightfall,  when  Davoust's  division,  surrounded  and 
pursued  by  innumerable  Cossacks,  at  length  was  enabled 
to  rally  once  more  around  his  headquarters.  Ney,  how- 
ever was  still  at  Smolensk. 

The  Emperor  now  pushed  on  to  relieve  Eugene  who 
was  in  command  of  the  van  with  orders  to  march  on  Eiady 
and  secure  the  passage  of  the  Dneiper  at  that  point. 


340  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Davoust  and  Mortier  were  left  at  Krasnoi  with  orders 
to  hold  out  as  long  as  possible  in  the  hope  of  being  there 
joined  by  Ney.  Long,  however,  before  that  gallant  leader 
could  reach  this  point,  the  Russians,  as  if  the  absence  of 
Napoleon  had  at  once  restored  all  their  energy,  rushed 
down  and  forced  on  Davoust  and  Mortier  the  battle  which 
Napoleon  had  in  vain  solicited.  On  that  fatal  field  the 
French  left  forty-five  cannon  and  6,000  prisoners,  besides 
the  slain  and  wounded.  The  remainder  with  difficulty 
effected  their  escape  to  lyiady,  where  Napoleon  once  more 
received  them,  and  crossed  the  Dneiper. 

Ney,  meanwhile,  having  as  directed  by  the  Kmperor, 
blown  up  whatever  remained  of  the  walls  and  towers  of 
Smolensk,  at  length  set  his  rear-guard  in  motion  and 
advanced  to  Krasnoi,  without  being  harassed  by  any  except 
PlatofF  whose  Cossacks  entered  Smolensk  ere  he  could 
wholly  abandon  it.  Ney  continued  to  advance  on  the 
footsteps  of  those  who  had  thus  shattered  Davoust  and 
Mortier  and  met  with  no  considerable  interruption  until 
he  reached  the  ravine  in  which  the  rivulet  lyosmina  has 
its  channel.  A  thick  mist  lay  on  the  ground  and  Ney 
was  almost  on  the  brink  of  the  ravine  before  he  perceived 
that  it  was  manned  throughout  by  Russians,  while  the 
opposite  banks  displayed  a  long  line  of  batteries  deliber- 
ately arranged,  and  all  the  hills  behind  covered  with 
troops. 

A  Russian  officer  appeared  and  summoned  Ney  to  sur- 
render. ' '  A  Marshal  of  France  never  surrenders  !  ' '  was 
his  intrepid  answer,  and  immediately  the  batteries,  distant 
only  two  hundred  and  fifty  yards,  opened  a  tremendous 
storm  of  grape-shot.  ITey,  nevertheless,  had  the  hardihood 
to  plunge  into  the  ravine,  clear  a  passage  over  the  stream, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  341 

and  charge  the  Russians  at  their  arms.  His  small  band 
was  repelled  with  fearful  slaughter  ;  but  he  renewed  his 
efforts  from  time  to  time  during  the  day,  and  at  night, 
though  with  numbers  much  diminished,  still  occupied  his 
original  position  in  the  face  of  a  whole  army  interposed 
between  him  and  Napoleon.  The  Emperor  had  by  this 
time  given  up  all  hopes  of  ever  again  seeing  anything  of 
his  rear  column. 

During  the  ensuing  night  Ney  effected  his  escape — an 
escape  so  miraculous  that  the  history  of  war  can  scarcely 
furnish  a  parallel.  The  marshal  broke  up  his  bivouac 
at  midnight,  and  marched  back  from  the  I^osmina,  until 
he  came  on  another  stream,  which  he  concluded  must 
also  flow  into  the  river  Dneiper.  He  followed  this 
guide,  and  at  length  reached  the  great  river  at  a  place 
where  it  was  frozen  over,  though  so  thinly,  that  the  ice 
bent  and  cracked  beneath  the  feet  of  the  men  who  crossed 
it  in  single  files.  The  wagons  laden  with  the  wounded, 
and  what  great  guns  were  still  with  Ney,  were  too  heavy 
for  this  frail  bridge.  They  attempted  the  passage  at 
different  points,  and  one  after  another  went  down,  amid 
the  shrieks  of  the  dying  and  the  groans  of  the  onlookers. 

The  Cossacks  had  by  this  time  gathered  hard  behind, 
and  swept  up  many  stragglers,  besides  the  sick.  But  Ney 
had  achieved  his  great  object;  and  on  the  20th  of  November 
he,  with  his  small  and  devoted  band  of  1500  men,  joined 
the  Emperor  once  more  at  Orcha.  Napoleon,  on  seeing 
him  received  him  in  his  arms,  and  exclaimed,  "  What  a 
man  !  What  a  soldier  ! ' '  He  could  not  find  words  to 
express  the  admiration  which  the  intrepid  marshal  had 
inspired  him  with;  he  hailed  him  as  "  the  bravest  of  the 
brave ' '    and   declared    with    transport :     "I  have    two 


342  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

hundred  millions  (of  francs)  in  the  cellars  of  the  Tuileries, 
and  I  would  have  given  them  all  to  save  Marshal  Ney  ! ' ' 

The  Emperor  was  once  more  at  the  head  of  his  united 
"  grand  army  " — a  sad  remnant  of  its  former  glory  and 
power.  Between  Smolensk  and  the  Dneiper  the  Russians 
had  taken  228  guns,  and  26,000  prisoners.  At  leaving 
Smolensk  Napoleon  had  mustered  40,000  effective  men — 
he  now  could  count  only  12,000,  after  Ney  joined  him  at 
Orcha.  Of  these  there  were  but  one  hundred  and  fifty 
cavalry ;  and,  to  remedy  this  defect,  officers  still  in  pos- 
session of  horses,  to  the  number  of  500,  were  now  formed 
into  a  ' '  sacred  band,  "as  it  was  called,  commanded  by 
General  Grouchy,  under  Murat,  for  immediate  attendance 
upon  the  Emperor's  person. 

The  Russians  were  now  uniting  all  their  forces  for  the 
defense  of  the  next  great  river  on  Napoleon's  route, — the 
Beresina.  The  Emperor  had  hardly  resolved  to  cross  this 
river  at  Borizoff,  ere,  to  renew  all  perplexities,  he  received 
intelligence  that  by  a  combat  with  Dombrowski  there  the 
enemy  had  retained  possession  of  the  town  and  bridge. 
Victor  and  Oudinot  advanced  immediately  to  succor  Dom- 
browski and  retook  Borizoff ;  but  the  Russians  burned 
the  bridge  before  re-crossing  the  Beresina. 

Napoleon  now  decided  to  pass  the  Beresina  higher 
up,  at  Studzianska,  and  forthwith  threw  himself  into 
the  huge  forests  which  border  the  river,  adopting  every 
stratagem  by  which  his  enemies  could  be  puzzled 
as  to  the  immediate  objectofhis  march .  H  is  1 2 ,  000  brave 
and  determined  men  were  winding  their  way  amidst  these 
dark  woods,  when  suddenly  the  air  around  them  was 
filled  with  sounds  which  could  only  proceed  from  the 
march  of  some  far  greater  host.     They  were  preparing 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREA  T  343 

for  the  worst  when  they  found  themselves  in  the  presence 
of  the  advanced  guard  of  the  united  army  of  Victor  and 
Oudinot,  who,  ahhough  they  had  been  defeated  by  Wit- 
genstein,  still  mustered  50,000  men,  completely  equipped 
and  hardly  shaken  in  discipline. 

Napoleon  now  continued  his  march  on  Studzianska, 
employing,  however,  all  his  wit  to  confirm  the  belief 
among  the  Russians  that  he  meant  to  pass  the  Beresina  at 
a  different  place,  and  this  with  so  much  success  that  the 
Russian  rear-guard  abandoned  a  strong  position  com- 
manding the  river,  during  the  very  night  which  preceded 
the  Emperor's  appearance  there. 

Two  bridges  were  erected,  and  Oudinot  had  passed  over 
before  Tchaplitz,  in  command  of  the  Russian  rear-guard, 
perceived  his  mistake,  and  returned  again  toward  Studzi- 
anska. Discovering  that  the  passage  had  already  begun, 
and  that  in  consequence  of  the  narrowness  of  the  only  two 
bridges,  it  must  needs  proceed  slowly,  Tchichagoff  and 
Witgenstein  now  arranged  a  joint  plan  of  attack.  Platoff 
and  his  indefatigable  Cossacks  joined  Witgenstein  arriving 
long  before  the  rear-guard  of  Napoleon  could  pass  the 
fiver.  The  French  that  had  made  the  passage  were 
attacked  by  Tchaplitz,  and  being  repelled  by  Oudinot  left 
them  in  unmolested  possession,  not  only  of  the  bridges  on 
the  Beresina,  but  of  a  long  train  of  wooden  causeways 
extending  for  miles  beyond  the  river  over  deep  and  dan- 
gerous morasses  which  but  a  few  sparks  were  needed  to 
ignite  and  destroy. 

Victor  with  the  rear  division,  consisting  of  8,000  men, 
was  still  on  the  eastern  side  when  Witgenstein  and 
PlatofE   appeared  on  the  heights.      The  still  numerous 


344  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

retainers  of  the  camp,  crowds  of  sick,  wounded,  and 
women,  and  the  greater  part  of  the  artillery  were  in  the 
same  situation. 

When  the  Russian  cannon  began  to  open  upon  this 
multitude,  crammed  together  near  the  bank,  and  each 
anxiously  expecting  the  turn  to  pass,  a  shriek  of  utter 
terror  ran  through  them,  and  men,  women,  horses  and 
wagons  rushed  pell-mell  upon  the  bridges.  The  larger 
of  these,  intended  solely  for  wagons  and  cannon,  ere  long 
broke  down  precipitating  all  that  were  upon  it  into  the 
dark  and  half- frozen  stream.  '  'The  scream  that  arose  at 
this  moment,"  says  one  that  heard  it,  "  did  not  leave  my 
ears  for  weeks  ;  it  was  heard  clear  and  loud  over  the  hur- 
rahs of  the  Cossacks,  and  all  the  roar  of  artillery." 

The  remaining  bridge  was  now  the  only  resource,  and 
all  indiscriminately  endeavored  to  gain  a  footing  on  it  ; 
exposed  to  the  incessant  shower  of  Russian  cannonade 
they  fell  and  died  in  thousands.  Victor  stood  his  ground 
bravely  until  late  in  the  evening,  and  then  conducted  his 
division  over  the  bridge.  Behind  was  left  a  great  number 
of  the  irregular  attendants  besides  those  soldiers  who  had 
been  wounded  during  the  battle,  and  guns  and  baggage- 
carts  in  great  quantities.  The  French  now  fired  the 
bridge  and  all  those  were  abandoned  to  their  fate.  The 
Russian  account  states  that  when  the  Beresina  broke  up 
in  the  Spring  36,000  bodies  were  found  in  the  bed  of  the 
river. 

On  the  3d  of  December  Napoleon  reached  Morghoni, 
and  announced  to  his  marshals  that  the  news  he  had 
received  from  Paris  at  Smolensk  concerning  Mallet's 
attempt  to  overthrow  his  government  by  announcing  the 
death  of  the  Kmperor,  and  the  uncertain  relations  with 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  345 

some  of  his  allies,  rendered  it  indispensable  for  him  to 
quit  his  army  without  further  delay  and  return  to  Paris 
with  all  possible  speed.  They  were  now,  he  said,  almost 
within  sight  of  Poland  ;  they  would  find  plenty  of  every- 
thing at  Wilna.  It  was  his  business  to  prepare  at  home 
the  means  of  opening  the  next  campaign  in  a  manner 
worthy  of  the  great  nation. 

At  Morghoni,  on  the  5th,  the  garrison  at  Wilna  met 
the  Emperor  and  then,  having  intrusted  to  these  fresh 
troops,  the  protection  of  the  rear,  and  given  the  chief 
command  to  Murat,  he  finally  bade  adieu  to  the  rulers  of 
his  host.  He  set  off  in  a  sledge  at  midnight,  accompanied 
by  Caulaincourt,  whose  name  he  assumed.  Having 
narrowly  escaped  being  taken  by  a  party  of  irregular 
Russians  at  Youpranoni,  the  Kmperor  reached  Warsaw  at 
nightfall  on  the  loth  of  December.  Here  he  met  his 
ambassador,  the  Abbe  de  Pradt,  to  whom  he  said,  ' '  I 
quit  my  army  with  regret;  but  I  must  watch  Austria  and 
Prussia,  and  I  have  more  weight  on  my  throne  than  at 
headquarters.  The  Russians  will  be  rendered  fool-hardy 
by  their  successes.  I  shall  beat  them  in  a  battle  or  two 
on  the  Oder,  and  be  on  the  Niemen  again  within  a  month 
— Monsieur  ly'  Ambassadeur,  from  the  sublime  to  the 
ridiculous  there  is  but  a  step. ' ' 

Resuming  his  journey,  Napoleon  reached  Dresden  on 
the  evening  of  the  14th  of  December,  where  the  King  of 
Saxony  visited  him,  and  reassured  him  of  his  fidelity. 
He  then  resumed  the  road  to  his  capital  and  arrived  at  the 
Tuileries  on  the  i8th,  late  at  night,  after  the  Empress 
had  retired. 

The  remnant  of  the  Grand  Army  meanwhile  moved  on 
towards  France  in  straggling  columns.     They  passed  the 


346  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Niemen  at  Kowno,  and  the  Russians  did  not  pursue  them 
into  Prussian  territory.  Here  about  looo  men  in  arms, 
and  perhaps  20,000  more  utterly  demoralized,  were  received 
with  compassion.  They  took  up  their  quarters  and 
remained  for  a  time  unmolested,  in  and  near  Konigsberg. 
The  French  army  crossed  the  Niemen  on  the  ice,  on  the 
13th  of  December,  defended  still  by  Ney,  who  had  to  fight 
with  the  Russians  in  Kowno.  He  now  fought  at  the 
head  of  only  thirty  men  and  was  the  last  individual  of  the 
French  army  who  left  Russian  territory,  as  he  did  so  he 
threw  his  musket  into  the  river  defying  the  enemy  with 
his  last  breath.  When  he  came  up  with  General  Dumas 
m  Prussian  Poland  he  was  scarcely  recognizable,  and  on 
being  asked  who  he  was  replied,  with  eyes  red  and  glaring, 
' '  I  am  the  rear-guard  of  the  Grand  Army  ;  I  have  fired 
the  last  musket  shot  on  the  bridge  of  Kowno  ! ' ' 

The  few  who  survived  all  these  horrors,  men  who  had 
fought  in  all  Napoleon's  campaigns,  and  wore  the  cross  of 
the  lyCgion  of  Honor  on  their  breasts,  were  now  so  wasted 
with  famine  that  they  wept  when  they  saw  a  loaf  of 
bread  ! 

The  total  loss  in  this  terrible  campaign  was  somewhere 
near  450,000  men  ;  fatigue,  hunger  and  cold  had  caused 
the  death  of  132,000;  and  the  Russians  had  taken 
prisoners  of  193,000 — including  forty-eight  generals  and 
three  thousand  regimental  officers.  The  eagles  and  stand- 
ards left  in  the  enemy's  hands  were  seventy-five  in  number 
and  the  pieces  of  cannon  nearly  one  thousand. 


xin 

THE  CAMPAIGN  OF  1 8 13 

To  the  premature  cold,  and  burning  of  Moscow,  Napo- 
leon attributed  the  failure  of  his  campaign  in  Russia. 
His  arrival  at  theTuileries  had  been  preceded  by  the  29th 
bulletin  in  which  the  fatal  events  of  the  campaign  were 
fully  and  graphically  recited.  While  he  had  not 
been  able  to  conquer  the  elements  he  found  the  Senate  and 
all  the  public  bodies  full  of  adulation  and  willingness  to  obey 
his  commands.  However,  what  had  been  foreseen  by  almost 
every  person  of  discernment,  except  Napoleon,  soon  fol- 
lowed, viz. ,  an  alliance  against  France  by  Prussia,  Russia 
and  Austria. 

New  conscriptions  were  now  called  for  and  yielded  ; 
regiments  arrived  from  Spain  and  Ital}'' ;  every  arsenal 
resounded  with  the  preparation  of  new  artillery.  '  'The 
wonderful  energies  of  Napoleon's  mind, ' '  says  Scott,  '  'and 
the  influence  which  he  could  exert  over  the  minds  of 
others,  were  never  so  striking  as  at  this  period  of  his 
reign.  He  had  returned  to  the  seat  of  his  Empire  at  a 
dreadful  crisis,  and  in  a  most  calamitous  condition.  His 
subjects  had  been  ignorant  for  three  weeks  whether  he 
was  dead  or  alive.  When  he  arrived  it  was  to  declare  a 
dreadful  catastrophe.  H<  *  *  Yet  Napoleon  came,  and 
seemed  but  to  stamp  on  the  earth,  and  armed  legions 
arose  at  his  call :  the  doubts  and  discontents  of  the  public 
disappeared  as  mists  at  sunrising,  and  the  same  confidence 
which  had  attended  his  prosperous  fortunes,  revived  in  its 
full  extent,  despite  of  his  late  reverses." 

23  347 


348  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Ere  many  weeks  had  elapsed  Napoleon  found  himself 
once  more  in  a  condition  to  take  the  field  with  not  less 
than  350,000  soldiers.  Such  was  the  effect  of  his  new 
appeal  to  the  national  feelings  of  the  French  people. 
Meanwhile  the  French  garrisons  dispersed  over  the  Prus- 
sian territory  were  wholly  incompetent  to  overawe  a  nation 
which  thirsted  for  vengeance.  The  king  endeavored  to 
protect  Napoleon's  soldiers  but  it  soon  became  manifest 
that  their  safety  must  depend  on  their  concentrating  them- 
selves in  a  small  number  of  fortified  towns.  Murat  now 
resigned  command  of  the  troops,  being  succeeded  by 
Eugene  Beauharnais  who  had  the  full  confidence  of  the 
Emperor.  The  new  commander  found  that  Frederick 
William  could  no  longer,  even  if  he  would,  repress  the 
universal  enthusiasm  of  the  Prussians  who  were  clamor- 
ous for  war.  On  the  31st  of  January,  18 13,  the  king 
made  his  escape  to  Breslau,  in  which  neighborhood  ho 
French  were  garrisoned,  erected  his  standard  and  called 
on  the  nation  to  rise  in  arms.  Eugene,  thereupon, 
retired  to  Madgeburg  and  shut  himself  up  in  that  great 
fortress,  with  as  many  of  the  troops  as  he  could  assemble 
to  the  west  of  the  Elbe.  When  Napoleon  heard  that 
Prussia  had  declared  war  against  France  he  said  with 
perfect  calmness,  "It  is  better  to  have  a  declared 
enemy,  than  a  doubtful  ally." 

It  was  now  six  years  since  the  fatal  day  of  Jena,  and  in 
spite  of  all  of  Napoleon's  watchfulness  the  Prussian  nation 
had  recovered,  in  a  great  measure,  its  energies.  The 
people  answered  the  call  as  with  the  heart  and  voice  of 
one  man.  Youths  of  all  ranks,  the  highest  and  the  lowest, 
flocked  indiscriminately  to  the  standard.  The  women 
poured  their  trinkets  into  the  king's  treasure,  the  gentle- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  349 

men  melted  their  plate, — England  poured  in  her  gold  with 
a  lavish  hand.  The  thunder  of  the  cannon  of  the  Bere- 
sina  had  raised  the  hopes  of  the  House  of  Bourbon  until 
Louis  XVIII.  finally  caused  to  be  published  in  England, 
and  distributed  throughout  the  Continent,  a  proclamation 
in  which  he  addressed  himself  to  the  people  adroitly  sup-, 
porting  the  common  opinion  which  attributed  to  Napoleon 
the  prolongation  of  the  war,  and  promising,  among  other 
things,  "  to  abolish  the  conscription." 

The  Emperor  of  Russia  was  no  sooner  aware  of  this 
great  movement,  than  he  resolved  to  advance  into  Silesia. 
Having  masked  several  French  garrisons  in  Prussian 
Poland,  and  taken  others,  he  pushed  on  with  his  main 
army  to  support  Frederick  William.  Evidently  he  did 
not  intend  to  permit  the  Prussians  to  stand  alone  the  first 
onset  of  Napoleon,  of  whose  extensive  arrangements  all 
Europe  was  aware. 

The  two  sovereigns  met  at  Breslau  on  the  1 5th  of  March. 
Tears  rushed  down  the  cheeks  of  Frederick  William,  as 
he  fell  into  the  arms  of  Alexander  ;  "  Wipe  them,"  said 
the  Czar ;  ' '  they  are  the  last  that  Napoleon  shall  ever 
cause  you  to  shed." 

The  aged  Kutusoff  having  died,  the  command  of  the 
Russian  army  was  now  given  to  Witgenstein  ;  while  that 
of  the  Prussians  was  intrusted  to  Blucher,  an  officer  who 
had  originally  trained  under  the  great  Frederick  and  who, 
since  the  battle  of  Jena,  had  lived  in  retirement.  The 
soldiers  had  long  before  bestowed  on  him  the  title  ' '  Mar- 
shal Forwards  ' '  and  they  heard  of  his  appointment  with 
delight.  Blucher  hated  the  very  names  of  France  and 
Bonaparte,  and  once  more  permitted  to  draw  his  sword, 
he  swore  never  to  sheathe  it  until  the  revenge  of  Prussia 


350  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

was  complete.  Bernadotte,  now  the  Crown  Prince  of 
Sweden,  and  an  ingrate, — owing  not  only  his  position  but 
his  very  existence  to  Napoleon, — now  landed  at  Stralsund, 
and  advanced  through  Mecklenburg  while  the  sovereigns 
of  Russia  and  Prussia  were  concentrating  their  armies  in 
Silesia.  It  was  announced  and  expected  that  German 
troops  would  join  Bernadotte,  so  as  to  enable  him  to  open 
the  campaign  on  the  lower  Kibe  with  a  separate  army  of 
100,000  men.  Wellington,  too,  was  about  to  advance  once 
more  into  Spain  with  his  victorious  armies.  Three  great 
armies,  two  of  which  might  easily  communicate  with  each 
other,  were  thus  taking  the  field  against  Napoleon  at 
once. 

Kre  the  Kmperor  once  more  left  Paris,  he  named  Marie 
lyouise  Bmpress-Regent  of  France  in  his  absence.  ^As 
the  time  approached  when  he  was  expected  to  as- 
sume the  command  of  his  army  in  the  field  his  devoted 
subjects  again  and  again  expressed  their  loyalty  to  him 
and  to  France.     He  quitted  Paris  in  the  middle  of  April. 

On  starting  to  join  his  j^outhful  and  inexperienced  army 
at  Brfurt,  Napoleon  said,  "  I  envy  the  lot  of  the  meanest 
peasant  in  my  dominion.  At  my  age  he  has  fulfilled  his 
duties  to  his  country,  and  he  may  remain  at  home,  enjoy- 
ing the  society  of  his  wife  and  children  ;  while  I — I  must 
fly  to  the  camp  and  engage  in  the  strife  of  war.  Such  is 
my  fate. ' ' 

' '  My  good  lyouise ' '  he  said  at  the  same  time,  ' '  is 
gentle  and  submissive,  I  can  trust  her.  Her  love  and 
fidelity  for  me  will  never  fail  ( !)  .  In  the  current  of  events 
there  may  arise  circumstances  which  decide  the  fate  of  an 
Empire.  In  that  case  I  hope  the  daughter  of  the  Caesars 
will  be  inspired  by  the  spirit  of  her  grand-mother,  Maria 
Theresa." 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  351 

In  three  months  an  army  of  350,000  men  was  raised, 
equipped  and  brought  together,  and  General  Segur  says  : 
"  At  any  hour  of  the  day  or  night  the  Emperor,  whatever 
he  was  doing,  could  have  told  the  numbers,  the  composi- 
tion, the  strength  of  every  one  of  the  thousands  of  detach- 
ments of  every  branch  of  the  service  which  he  set  in 
movement  from  every  part  of  the  Empire,  the  way  they 
were  uniformed  or  equipped,  the  number  of  marches  each 
one  had  to  make,  the  day,  the  place,  even  the  hour  at 
which  each  was  to  arrive." 

On  the  1 8th  he  reached  the  banks  of  the  Saale  where 
the  troops  he  had  been  mustering  and  organizing  in 
France  had  now  been  joined  by  Eugene  and  the  garrison 
of  Madgeburg. 

The  Czar  and  his  Prussian  ally  were  known  to  be  at 
Dresden,  and  it  soon  appeared  that,  while  they  meditated 
a  march  westwards  on  Leipsic,  the  French  intended  to 
move  eastward  with  a  view  of  securing  the  possession  of 
that  great  city.  He  had  a  host  nearly  200,000  strong 
concentrating  for  action  while  reserves  of  almost  equal 
numbers  were  gradually  forming  behind  him  on  the 
Rhine.  Napoleon  arrived  at  Erfurt  on  the  23d  of  'April, 
whilst  Marshal  Ney  was  taking  possession  of  Weissenfels, 
after  a  contest  which  caused  him  to  say  ' '  he  had  never 
at  any  one  time,  seen  so  much  enthusiasm  and  sangfroid 
in  the  infantry."  And  yet  the  veterans  of  Austerlitz, 
Jena,  Friedland  and  Wagrani  had  nearly  all  disappeared 
from  the  ranks,  and  the  honor  of  those  eagles,  so  long 
victorious,  had  been  committed  to  young  conscripts, 
hardly  conversant  with  their  exercise,  and  by  no  means 
habituated  to  the  fatiarues  of  war. 


352  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  armies  met  on  the  first  of  May, — sooner  than  Napo- 
leon had  ventured  to  hope, — near  the  town  of  IyUtzen,then 
celebrated  as  the  scene  of  the  battle  in  which  King  Gus- 
tavus  Adolphus  died.  The  evening  before  the  battle 
Marshal  Bessieres  was  forcing  a  defile  near  Poserna,  and 
having,  according  to  custom,  advanced  into  the  very 
midst  of  the  skirmishers,  a  musket-ball  struck  him  in  the 
breast,  and  extended  him  lifeless  on  the  ground.  His 
death  was  concealed  from  the  brave  men  he  had  so  long 
commanded  and  by  whom  he  was  greatly  beloved, 
until  after  the  victory  of  the  following  day. 

The  allies  crossed  the  Klster  suddenly,  under  the  cover 
of  a  thick  morning  fog,  and  attacked  the  left  flank  of  the 
French,  who  had  been  advancing  in  column,  a^id  who 
thus  commenced  the  action  under  heavy  disadvantages. 
But  the  Emperor  so  skillfully  altered  the  arrangement  of 
his  army,  that,  ere  the  day  closed,  the  allies  were  more 
afraid  of  being  enclosed  to  their  ruin  within  his  two  wings, 
than  hopeful  of  being  able  to  cut  through  and  destroy 
that  part  of  his  force  which  they  had  originally  charged 
and  weakened,  and  which  had  now  become  his  centre. 

Night  interrupted  the  conflict  and  the  next  morning 
the  enemy  retreated,  leaving  Napoleon  in  possession  of 
the  field.  His  victory  was  less  complete  than  was  desir- 
able although  he  lost  but  ten  or  twelve  thousand  men 
while  the  allies  lost  above  twenty  thousand. 

A  great  moral  effect  was,  however,  produced  by  the 
battle.  Napoleon,  who  had  been  regarded  as  already  con- 
quered, was  again  victorious.  The  Emperor  immediately 
sent  dispatches  to  every  court  in  alliance  with  France,  to 
announce  the  event,  ' '  In  my  young  soldiers, ' '  he  said, 
"I  have  found  all  the  valor  of  my  old  companions-in- 


NAPoLEON  the  great  353 

arms.  During  the  twenty  years  that  I  have  commanded 
the  French  troops  I  have  never  witnessed  more  bravery 
and  devotion.  If  all  the  Allied  Sovereigns,  and  the  min- 
isters who  direct  their  cabinets,  had  been  present  on  the 
field  of  battle,  they  would  have  renounced  the  vain  hope 
of  causing  the  Star  of  France  to  decline." 

Beaten  at  lyUtzen,  Alexander  and  the  King  of  Prussia 
fell  back  on  L,eipsic,  thence  on  Dresden,  and  finally 
across  the  Elbe  to  Bautzen.  A  want  of  cavalry  prevented 
their  pursuit. 

Napoleon  entered  Dresden  on  the  nth  of  May,  and  on 
the  1 2th  was  joined  by  the  King  of  Saxony  who  still 
adhered  to  him.  The  Saxon  troops  once  more  decided  to 
act  in  concert  with  the  French.  As  Napoleon  approached 
Dresden,  he  was  waited  upon  by  the  magistrates  who  had 
been  treacherous  to  him  and  to  their  king,  and  had  wel- 
comed the  allies. 

' '  Who  are  you  ?  ' '  Napoleon  asked  severely. 

"  Members  of  the  municipality,"  replied  the  trembling 
burgomasters. 

' '  Have  you  bread  for  my  troops  ?  ' '  inquired  Napoleon. 

* '  Our  resources, ' '  they  answered,  " '  have  been  entirely 
exhausted  by  the  requisitions  of  the  Russians  and 
Prussians. ' ' 

"Ah!"  replied  Napoleon,  "it  is  impossible,  is  it?  I 
know  no  such  word.  Get  ready  bread,  meat  and  wine. 
You  richly  deserve  to  be  treated  as  a  conquered  people. 
But  I  forgive  all  from  regard  for  your  king.  He  is  the 
saviour  of  your  country.  You  have  been  already  punished 
by  the  presence  of  the  Russians  and  Prussians,  and  having 
been  governed  by  Baron  Stein." 


354  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

On  becoming  master  of  Dresden,  the  Emperor,  as  usual, 
sent  proposals  of  a  pacific  nature  to  the  allies,  suggesting 
that  a  general  congress  should  assemble  at  Prague  to  treat 
for  peace.  Neither  Russia  nor  Prussia,  however,  would 
listen  favorably  to  what  they  considered  would  be  an 
admission  of  their  incapacity  to  realize  their  boast  of 
speedily  dethroning  ' '  the  scourge  and  tyrant  of  Europe 
and  mankind." 

Austria  had  been  sounded,  and  expressed  her  willing- 
ness to  join  the  coalition  on  the  first  favorable  opportunity. 
She  was  at  this  time  increasing  her  military  establish- 
ment largely,  and  a  great  body  of  troops  was  already 
concentrated  behind  the  mountainous  frontier  of  Bohemia. 
Austria,  therefore,  was  enabled  to  turn  the  scale  on 
whichever  side  she  might  choose. 

Napoleon  now  determined  to  crush  the  army  which  had 
retreated  from  I^utzen,  ere  the  ceremonious  cabinet  of 
Vienna  should  ha,ve  time  to  come  to  a  distinct  under- 
standing with  the  headquarters  of  Alexander  and  Fred- 
erick William.  That  victory  was  the  best  method  of  se- 
curing Austria's  help,  Napoleon  clearly  saw. 

The  allies,  on  their  retreat,  had  blown  up  the  mag- 
nificent bridge  over  the  Elbe  at  Dresden,  and  this  being 
replaced  in  part  by  some  arches  of  wood,  Napoleon  now 
moved  towards  Bautzen  and  came  in  sight  of  the  enemy 
on  the  morning  of  the  21st  of  May.  The  position  of  the 
allies  was  almost  perfect :  in  their  front  was  the  river 
Spree  ;  wooded  hills  supported  their  right,  and  eminences 
well  fortified  their  left. 
'  The  action  began  with  an  attempt  to  turn  their  right, 
but  Barclay  de  Tolly  anticipated  this  movement  and 
repelled  it  with  such  vigor  that  a  whole  column  of  7,000 
dispersed  and  fled  into  the  hills  of  Bohemia  for  safety. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  355 

Napoleon  now  determined  to  pass  the  Spree  in  front  of 
the  enemy,  .and  they  permitted  him  to  do  so,  rather  than 
come  down  from  their  position.  He  took  up  his  quarters 
in  the  town  of  Bautzen,  and  his  whole  army  bivouacked 
in  presence  of  the  allies. 

The  battle  was  resumed  at  daybreak  on  the  2 2d  ;  when 
Ney  on  the  right,  and  Oudinot  on  the  left,  attempted 
simultaneously  to  turn  the  flanks  of  the  position  ;  while 
Soult  and  Napoleon  himself  directed  charge  after  charge 
on  the  centre.  During  four  hours  the  struggle  was  main- 
tained with  unflinching  obstinacy.  The  wooded  heights, 
where  Blucher  commanded,  had  been  taken  and  retaken 
several  times,  ere  the  allies  perceived  the  necessity  of 
retiring  or  losing  the  engagement.  They  finally  withdrew, 
panic-stricken,  con  tinning  their  retreat  with  such  celerity  as 
to  gain  time  to  rally  on  the  roads  leading  to  Bohemia,  all 
others  being  closed  against  them.  The  want  of  cavalry, 
however,  again  prevented  Napoleon  from  turning  his  suc- 
cess to  account. 

During  the  whole  of  the  ensuing  day  Napoleon,  at  the 
head  of  the  cavalry  of  the  Guard,  urged  pursuit  and 
exposed  at  all  times  his  own  person  in  the  very  hottest  of 
the  fire.  By  his  side  was  Duroc,  grand  master  of  the 
palkce — his  dearest  friend.  "  Duroc,"  said  the  Emperor, 
on  the  morning  of  the  battle,  "  fortune  has  a  spite  at  us 
to-day." 

About  7  o'clock  in  the  evening,  Duroc  was  conversing 
on  a  slight  eminence,  and  at  a  considerable  distance  from 
the  firing,  with  Marshal  Mortier  and  General  Kirgener, — 
all  three  on  foot, — when  a  cannon-ball, aimed  at  the  group, 
ploughed  up  the  ground  near  Mortier,  ripped  open  Duroc' s 
abdomen  and  struck  General  Kirgener  dead  on  the  spot. 


356"  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Napoleon  hastened  to  Duroc  as  soon  as  he  heard  of  the 
event  and  was  deeply  moved  on  beholding  him.  The 
latter,  who  was  still  conscious,  said  to  the  Bmperor  :  "All 
my  life  has  been  devoted  to  your  service,  and  I  only  regret 
its  loss  for  the  use  which  it  might  still  have  been  to  you. ' ' 

' '  Duroc, ' '  replied  the  Emperor,  ' '  there  is  another  life  ! 
it  is  there  that  you  will  await  me  and  there  we  shall  one 
day  meet." — "  Yes,  Sire,  but  that  will  be  in  thirty  years, 
when  you  shall  have  triumphed  over  your  enemies,  and 
realized  the  hopes  of  your  country ;  I  have  lived  an 
honest  man  and  have  nothing  to  reproach  myself  with. 
I  leave  a  daughter,  your  Majesty  will  be  a  father  to  her." 

At  Duroc 's  own  solicitation  the  Bmperor  retired  to  spare 
him  further  grief.  Napoleon  had  ordered  Iris  troops  to 
halt,  and  he  remained  all  the  afternoon  in  front  of  his 
tent,  surrounded  by  the  Guard,  who  did  not  witness  his 
affliction  without  tears.  He  stood  by  Duroc  while  he  died 
and  drew  up  with  his  own  hand  an  epitaph,  to  be  placed 
over  his  remains  by  the  pastor  of  the  place,  and  who 
received  two  hundred  napoleons  to  defray  the  expense  of  a 
fitting  monument.     Thus  closed  the  22d, 

That  night  Napoleon,  after  dictating  the  bulletin  of  the 
battle,  wrote  the  following  decree,  "which,"  says  Alison, 
"all  lovers  of  the  arts,  as  well  as  admirers-  of  patriotic 
virtue,  must  regret  was  prevented  by  his  fall  from  being 
carried  into  execution  :  " — "A  monument  shall  be  erected 
on  Mount  Cenis ;  on  the  most  conspicuous  space  the 
following  inscription  shall  be  written :  '  The  Bmperor 
Napoleon,  from  the  field  of  Wurschen,  has  ordered  the 
erection  of  this  monument  in  testimony  of  his  gratitude 
to  the  people  of  France  and  of  Italy.  This  monument 
will  transmit,  from  age  to  age,  the  remembrance  of  that 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  357 

great  epocii,  when,  in  the  space  of  three  months,  twelve 
hundred  thousand  men  flew  to  arms,  to  protect  the  integ- 
rity of  the  French  Empire.'  " 

The  allies,  although  strongly  posted  during  the  most  of 
the  day,  had  lost  10,000  men.  They  continued  to  retreat 
into  Upper  Silesia,  and  Napoleon  advanced  toBreslauand 
released  the  garrison  of  Glogau.  General  Regnier  obtained 
fresh  advantage  over  the  Russians  in  the  affair  of  Gorlitz 
on  the  following  day,  and  on  the  24th  Marshal  Ney  forced 
the  passage  of  the  Neiss  and  in  the  morning  of  the  25th 
was  beyond  the  Quiess  where  he  met  the  Emperor. 

Meanwhile,  the  Austrians,  having  watched  these 
indecisive  though  bloody  fields,  and  daily  defeats  of  the 
allies,  sought  to  bring  about  an  armistice,  but  only  with  a 
view  of  gaining  them  time  to  recuperate.  The  sovereigns 
of  Russia  and  Prussia  expressed  a  willingness  to  accept 
it,  and  Napoleon  also  was  desirous  of  bringing  his  dis- 
putes to  a  peaceful  termination  until  the  loth  of  August. 
He  agreed  to  an  armistice,  and  in  arranging  its  conditions, 
agreed  to  fall  back  out  of  Silesia,  thus  enabling  the  allies 
to  reopen  communications  with  Berlin.  On  the  first  of 
June  the  lines  of  truce  to  be  occupied  by  the  armies  was 
signed,  the  French  Emperor  returned  to  Dresden,  and  a 
general  congress  of  diplomatists  prepared  to  meet  at 
Prague,  England  alone  refusing  to  send  a  representative 
alleging  that  Napoleon  had  as  yet  signified  no  intention 
to  recede  from  his  position  with  regard  to  Spain. 

The  armistice  was  arranged  purely  to  gain  time.  Napo- 
leon's successes,  while  unproductive,  were  dazzling  in 
their  execution,  and  the  allies  found  it  of  the  utmost 
importance  to  stop  hostilities  until  the  advance  of  Berna- 
dotte,  and  secure  further  time  for  the  arrival  of  new  rein- 


358  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

forcements  from  Russia  ;  for  the  completion  of  the  Prus- 
sian organization  and,  above  all,  for  determining  the 
policy  of  Vienna. 

While  inferior  diplomatists  wasted  much  time  in  endless 
discussions  at  Prague  one  interview  between  Prince  Met- 
ternich  and  Napoleon,  at  Dresden,  brought  the  whole 
question  to  a  definite  issue.  The  Emperor,  during  the 
course  of  their  conversation,  is  said  to  have  asked  "What 
is  your  price  ?  Will  Illyria  satisfy  you?  I  only  wish  you 
to  be  neutral — I  can  deal  with  theseRussians  and  Prussians 
single-handed. ' ' 

Metternich  answered  that  the  time  in  which  Austria 
could  be  neutral  was  past ;  that  the  situation  of  Europe  at 
large  must  be  considered.  He  declared  that  the  Rhenish 
Confederacy  must  be  broken  up,  that  France  must  be 
contented  with  the  boundary  of  the  Rhine  and  pretend  no 
longer  to  maintain  her  unnatural  influence  in  Germany. 
Napoleon  replied,  "Come  Metternich,  tell  me  honestly 
how  much  the  English  have  given  you  to  take  their  part 
against  me?" 

At  length  the  Austrian  Court  sent  a  formal  document 
containing  its  ultimatum,  the  tenor  of  which  Metternich 
had  indicated  in  his  coversation.  Napoleon  was  urged 
by  his  ministers,  Talleyrand  and  Fouche,  two  arch- 
intriguers,  to  accede  to  the  proffered  terms.  Their  argu- 
ments were  backed  by  intelligence  of  the  most  disastrous 
character  from  Spain.  Wellington,  on  perceiving  that 
Napoleon  had  greatly  weakened  his  armies  in  that  country, 
while  preparing  for  his  campaign  against  Prussia  and 
Russia,  had  once  more  advanced  and  was  now  in  pos- 
session of  the  supreme  authority  over  the  Spanish  armies 
as  well  as  the  Portugese  and  English,  and  had  appeared 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  359 

in  greater  force  than  ever.  The  French  had  suffered  defeat 
at  several  points  and  on  the  21st  of  June,  Joseph  Bonaparte 
and  Marshal  Jourdan  had  sustained  a  total  defeat,  and 
the  former  was  now  retreating  towards  the  Pyrenees. 

Berthier  concurred  in  pressing  upon  the  Emperor  the 
desirability  of  making  peace  on  the  terms  proposed,  or  to 
draw  in  his  garrisons  on  the  Oder  and  Elbe,  whereby  he 
would  strengthen  his  army  with  50,000  veterans  and 
retire  to  the  Rhine.  There,  it  was  urged,  with  such  a 
force  assembled  on  such  a  river,  and  with  all  the  resources 
of  France  behind  him ,  he  might  bid  defiance  to  the  united 
armies  of  Europe,  and,  at  worst,  obtain  a  peace  that 
would  leave  him  in  secure  tenure  of  a  nobler  dominion 
than  any  of  the  kings,  his  predecessors,  had  even  hoped 
to  possess.  "Ten  lost  battles,"  he  replied,  "would  not 
sink  me  lower  than  you  would  have  me  place  myself  by 
my  own  voluntary  act  ;  but  one  battle  gained  enables  me 
to  seize  Berlin  and  Breslau  and  make  peace  on  terms  com- 
patible with  my  glory. ' ' 

Finally,  Metternich  suddenly  broke  off  all  negotiations, 
and  on  the  12th  of  August,  Austria  declared  war  against 
France.  It  was  an  act  of  bold  and  shameless  perfidy  ; 
but  Metternich  was  richly  rewarded  for  his  treachery  by 
the  crowned  heads  of  Europe.  It  was  then  that  Napo- 
leon discovered  the  depth  of  the  abyss  on  which  he  had 
set  his  foot.  He  had  lived  in  the  hopes  that  his  alliance 
with  the  House  of  Austria, by  marriage  with  Marie  lyouise, 
would  prevent  the  Archduchess'  father  from  taking  the 
field  against  him,  but  in  this  he  was  sadly  disappointed. 
Austria  now  signed  an  alliance,  offensive  and  defensive, 
with  Russia  and  Prussia.     Thus  was  consolidated  at  last 


36o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

the  great  coalition.  The  sovereigns  of  the  nations  of 
Europe  had  leagued  together  and  sworn  to  crush  the 
Emperor  of  France. 

On  the  night  between  the  loth  and  nth  rockets  answer- 
ing rockets,  from  height  to  height  along  the  frontiers  of 
Bohemia  and  Silesia,  had  'announced  to  all  the  armies  of 
the  allies  this  accession  of  strength  and  the  immediate 
recommencement  of  hostilities.  Napoleon  had  now  been 
several  weeks  with  his  army  at  Dresden  and  it  had  been 
fondly  hoped  by  the  populace  that  on  th^  birthday  of  the 
French  Emperor,  a  peace  with  Europe  would  be  signed. 
They  had  prepared  a  magnificent  festival  in  his  honor  and 
to  celebrate  the  restoration  of  peace.  Their  hopes  were 
considerably  lessened,  however,  by  an  order  for  the  fete  to 
take  place  on  the  loth  in  conjunction  with  a  grand  review 
of  the  army.  On  the  great  plain  of  Ostra-Gehege,  near 
Dresden,  the  imperial  troops  were  drawn  up,  and  in  the 
presence  of  the  King  of  Saxony,  the  Emperor's  brothers, 
marshals,  and  the  chief  dignitaries  of  the  Empire,  Napo- 
leon held  his  last  review.  Twenty  thousand  of  the  Old 
Guard,  five  thousand  of  whom  were  mounted  on  fine 
horses  richy  caparisoned,  with  the  whole  of  his  vast 
army, defiled  before  their  Imperial  Commander.  At  night 
a  banquet  was  spread  for  his  gallant  veterans. 

Military  preparations  had  been  progressing  on  both  sides 
during  the  cessation  of  hostilities.  Napoleon  now  had  a 
force  of  250,000  men  distributed  as  follows:  Macdonald 
lay  with  100,000  at  Buntzlaw,  on  the  border  of  Silesia; 
another  corps  of  50,000  had  their  headquarters  at  Zittau, 
in  Eusatia  ;  St.  C5^r,  with  20,000  was  at  Pirna  on  the 
great  pass  from  Bohemia  ;  Oudinot  at  Eeipsic,  with  60,000  ; 
while  with  the  Emperor  himself  at  Dresden  remained 
25,000  of  the  Imperial  Guard,  the  flower  of  France. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  361 

Behind  the  Krzgebirge,  or  Metallic  Mountains,  and 
having  their  headquarters  at  Prague,  lay  the  grand  army 
of  the  allies,  consisting  of  120,000  Austrians  and  80,000 
Russians  and  Prussians  ;  commanded  in  chief  by  the  Aus- 
trian general  Schwartzenberg.  The  French  corps  at 
Zittau  and  Pirna  were  prepared  to  encounter  these,  should 
they  attempt  to  force  their  way  into  Saxony,  either  on  the 
right  or  the  left  of  the  Kibe.  The  second  army  of  the 
allies, consisting  of  80,000  Russians  and  Prussians, — called 
the  army  of  Silesia, — and  commanded  by  Blucher,  lay  in 
advance  of  Breslau.  I^astly,the  Crown  Prince  of  Sweden, 
Bernadotte,  who  had  been  influenced  by  a  belief  that  he 
was  to  succeed  to  the  throne  of  France,  was  at  Berlin,  with 
30,000  of  his  own  troops,  and  60,000  Russians  and  Prus- 
sians. Oudinot  and  Macdonald  were  so  stationed  that  he 
could  not  approach  the  upper  valley  of  the  Kibe  without 
encountering  one  of  them, and  they  also  had  the  means  of 
mutual  communication  and  support. 

Napoleon  had  evidently  arranged  his  troops  with  the 
view  of  making  isolated  assaults,  and  beating  them  in 
detail.  He  was  opposed,  however,  by  generals  who  were 
well  acquainted  with  his  tactics  but  none  of  whom,  except 
Blucher,  was  above  mediocre  in  generalship.  The  three 
allied  commanders  had  prepared  counter  schemes  to  frus- 
trate his  arrangements,  having  agreed  that  whosoever  of 
them  should  be  first  assailed  or  pressed  by  the  French, 
they  should  on  no  account  accept  battle,  but  retreat ;  thus 
tempting  Napoleon  in  person  to  follow,  leaving  Dresden 
open  to  the  assault  of  some  other  great  branch  of  their 
confederacy,  and  to  enable  them  at  once  to  seize  all  his 
magazines,  to  break  the  communications  between  the 
remaining  divisions  of  his  army,  and  interpose  a  hostile  force 
in  the  rear  of  them  all — between  the  Kibe  and  the  Rhine. 


362  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

This  plan  of  campaign  is  believed  to  have  been  drawn 
up  by  two  of  Napoleon's  old  marshals — Bernadotte  and 
Moreau — both  traitors.  The  latter  had  just  returned 
from  America  on  the  invitation  of  the  Emperor  Alexander, 
whither  he  had  gone  after  being  exiled,  and  had  joined 
the  Allies  in  their  warfare  on  the  French  Emperor. 

The  first  movement  was  made  by  Blucher,  and  no  sooner 
did  Napoleon  become  aware  that  he  was  threatening  the 
position  of  Macdonald  than  he  quitted  Dresden.  He  left 
with  his  Guard  and  a  powerful  force  of  cavalry  on  the 
15th  of  August,  and  proceeded  to  the  support  of  his 
marshal.  The  Prussian  commander  adhered  faithfully  to 
the  general  plan  and  retired  across  the  Katsbach,  in  the 
face  of  his  enemies.  While  in  pursuit  of  him  Napoleon 
was  informed  that  Schwartzenberg  had  rushed  down  from 
the  Bohemian  hills  and  abandoning  Blucher  to  the  care  of 
Macdonald,  sent  his  Guard  back  to  Dresden  leaving  for 
the  same  point  himself  on  the  23d. 

Schwartzenberg  made  his  appearance  on  the  heights 
to  the  south  of  the  Saxon  capital  on  the  25th,  having 
driven  St.  Cyr  and  his  20,000  men  before  him. 

The  army  of  St.  Cyr  had  thrown  itself  into  the  city  of 
Dresden  and  on  the  26th  were  assailed  in  six  columns, 
each  more  numerous  than  its  garrison.  The  French 
marshal  had  about  begun  to  despair  when  the  Imperial 
Guard  made  its  appearance,  crossing  the  bridge  from 
the  eastern  side  of  the  Elbe,  and  in  their  midst  was  the 
Emperor  himself.  His  arrival  was  most  timely  and  the  two 
sallies  executed  by  those  troops,  hot  and  tired  from  their 
long  and  tiresome  march, caused  the  allies  to  be  driven  back 
some  distance.  Night  then  set  in  and  the  two  armies  re- 
mained very  near  together  until  the  next  morning  when 
the  battle  was  renewed  amidst  a  storm  of  wind  and  rain. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  363 

The  Emperor,  by  movements  most  phenomenal,  now 
had  200,000  men  gathered  round  him,  and  he  poured 
them  out  with  such  skill  on  either  flank  of  the  enemy's 
line,  that  ere  the  close  of  the  day  they  were  forced  to 
withdraw.  At  3  o'clock  the  battle  of  Dresden  was 
definitely  gained  for  Napoleon.  The  allied  monarchs,  in 
danger  of  losing  their  communication  with  Bohemia,  were 
obliged  to  provide  for  their  safety  and  beat  a  retreat 
leaving  in  the  power  of  the  Conqueror  from  twenty-five 
to  thirty  thousand  prisoners,  forty  flags,  and  sixty  pieces 
of  cannon. 

Napoleon  remained  on  the  field  until  his  victory  was 
decided,  and  then  returned  to  Dresden  on  horseback  ;  his 
gray-coat,  and  weather-worn  hat  streaming  with  water, 
and  his  whole  appearance  forming  a  singular  contrast  to 
that  of  Murat,  who  rode  by  his  side  with  all  the  splendor 
of  his  usual  battle-dress.  The  latter  had,  however, 
especially  distinguished  himself  during  the  action. 

On  either  side  8,000  men  had  been  slain  or  wounded 
and  one  of  the  ablest  of  all  the  enemy's  generals — Moreau, 
had  fallen.  Early  in  the  day  Napoleon  had  observed  a 
group  of  reconnoitring  officers  and  ordered  that  ten 
cannon  be  prepared  at  once.  He  believed  that  he  rec- 
ognized in  the  group  "  the  traitor  Moreau."  He  at  once 
ordered  that  the  heavy  guns,  charged  with  all  their  power, 
be  pointed  in  that  direction.  He  superintended  the  oper- 
ation and  decided  himself  the  angle  of  elevation,  the  aim 
and  the  moment  to  fire.  Ten  pieces  went  off  at  once, 
carrying  a  storm  of  cannon-shot  over  the  heads  of  the 
contending  armies.  This  was  followed  by  a  movement 
which  was  thought  to  indicate  that  some  persoii  of  impor- 
tance had  been  wounded. 
24  ' 


364  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

A  peasant  came  in  the  evening  and  brought  with  him 
a  bloody  boot  and  a  grey-hound,  both  the  property,  he 
said,  of  a  great  man  who  was  no  more  ;  the  words  on  the 
dog ' s  collar  were :  "I  belong  to  General  Moreau . ' '  Moreau 
was  dead.  Both  his  legs  had  been  shot  off.  It  is  said  he 
continued  to  smoke  a  cigar  while  the  surgeon  dressed  his 
woimds,  in  the  presence  of  Alexander,  and  died  shortly 
after. 

The  fatigues  Napoleon  had  undergone  between  the  15th 
and  28th  of  August  now  overcame  him  and  he  was  unable 
to  remain  with  the  columns  in  the  rear  of  Schwartzenberg, 
but  returned  to  Dresden.  Here  he  learned  of  Vandamme's 
failure  in  an  engagement  in  the  valley  of  Culm  with  a 
Prussian  corps  commanded  by  Count  D'  Osterman, 
wherein  the  French  lieutenant  laid  down  his  arms  with 
8,000  prisoners.  This  news  reached  Napoleon,  still  sick, 
at  Dresden.  "  Such,"  he  said  to  Murat,  "is  the  fortune 
of  war — high  in  the  morning,  low  ere  night ;  between 
triumph  and  ruin  there  intervenes  but  one  step. ' ' 

No  sooner  did  Blucher  perceive  that  Napoleon  had 
retired  from  Silesia  than  he  resumed  the  offensive,  still 
carrying  out  Moreau' s  advice,  ' '  attack  Napoleon  where  he 
is  not ! ' '  and  descended  from  the  position  he  had  taken  at 
Jauer.  He  encountered  Macdonald, — who  was  by  no  means 
prepared  for  him, — on  the  plains  between  Wahlstadt  and 
the  river  Katsbach,  on  the  26th  of  August,  and  after  a 
hard  fought  day,  gained  a  complete  victory.  The  French 
lost  15,000  men  and  100  guns  and  fell  back  on  Dresden. 
Oudinot  was  defeated  on  the  23d  of  August  by  Berna- 
dotte  at  Gross-Beeren  and  Ney  suffered  like  reverses  on 
the  7th  of  September  at  Dennewitz,  leaving  10,000  prisoners 
and  forty-six  guns  in  the  hands  of  Bernadotte. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  365 

Napoleon  now  recovered  his  health  and  activity,  and 
the  exertions  he  made  at  this  time  were  never  surpassed, 
even  by  himself.  On  the  3d  of  September  he  was  in 
quest  of  Blucher  who  had  now  advanced  near  to  the  Kibe, 
but  the  Prussians  retired  and  baffled  him  as  before. 
Returning  to  Dresden  he  received  the  news  of  Dennewitz 
and  immediately  afterwards  heard  that  Witgenstein  had  a 
second  time  descended  towards  Pirna.  He  flew  thither 
on  the  instant,  the  Russian  gave  way,  according  to  the 
plan  of  campaign,  and  Napoleon  returned  once  more  to 
Dresden.  Again  he  was  told  that  Blucher  on  the  one 
side,  and  Witgenstein  on  the  other,  were  availing  them- 
selves of  his  absence,  and  advancing.  He  once  more 
returned  to  Pirna  ;  a  third  time  the  Russian  retired. 
Napoleon  followed  him  as  far  as  Peterswald  and  once 
more  returned  to  his  centre  point. 

Bernadotte  and  Blucher  finally  effected  a  junction  to 
the  west  of  the  Elbe,  despite  the  heroic  exertions  of  Ney 
who,  on  witnessing  the  combination  of  these  armies 
retreated  to  Leipsic.  Napoleon  now  ordered  Regnier  and 
Bertrand  to  march  suddenly  from  Dresden  to  Berlin  in 
the  hope  of  recalling  Blucher,  but  without  success. 
Meantime  Schwartzenberg  was  found  to  be  skirting 
round  the  hills  to  the  westward,  as  if  for  the  purpose  of 
joining  Blucher  and  Bernadotte,  in  the  neighborhood  of 
Ivcipsic. 

It  became  manifest  that  Leipsic  was  now  becoming 
the  common  centre  towards  which  the  forces  of 
France  and  all  her  enemies  were  converging.  Napoleon 
reached  that  venerable  city  on  the  15th  of  October  and 
almost  immediately  the  heads  of  Schwartzenberg 's  col- 
umns  began  to   appear  towards   the   south.     Napoleon, 


366  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

having  made  all  his  preparations,  reconnoitred  every 
outpost  in  person,  and  distributed  eagles  to  some  new 
regiments  which  had  just  joined  him.  The  young  sol- 
diers, with  a  splendid  ceremony,  swore  to  die  rather  than 
witness  the  dishonor  of  France.  Five  hundred  thousand 
men  were  now  in  presence  of  each  other  under  the  walls  or 
in  the  environs  of  Leipsic  and  a  grand  battle  had  become 
inevitable. 

At  midnight  three  rockets,  emitting  a  brilliant  white- 
light,  sprang  into  the  heavens  to  the  south  of  the  city. 
These  marked  the  position  on  which  Schwartzenberg 
— having  with  him  the  Emperor  of  Austria,  as  well  as 
Alexander  and  Frederick  William,  had  fixed  his  head- 
quarters. They  were  answered  by  four  rockets  of  a  deep 
red  color  ascending  from  the  northern  horizon. 

Napoleon  now  became  convinced  that  he  was  to  sustain, 
on  the  morrow,  the  assault  of  Blucher  and  Bernadotte  as 
well  as  the  grand  army  of  the  allies.  Blucher  was  indeed 
ready  to  co-operate  with  Schwartzenberg,  and  though  the 
Crown  Prince  had  not  yet  reached  his  ground,  the  numer- 
ical strength  of  the  enemy  was  very  great.  Napoleon  had 
with  him  to  defend"  the  line  of  villages  to  the  north  and 
south  of  I^eipsic,  134,000  infantry  and  22,000  cavalry  ; 
while,  even  in  the  absence  of  Bernadotte,  who  might  be 
hourly  looked  for,  the  allies  mustered  not  less  than  340,000 
combatants,  including  54,000  cavalry. 

At  daybreak  on  the  1 6th  of  October,  the  battle  began 
on  the  southern  side,  the  allies  charging  the  French  line 
there  six  times  in  succession,  and  were  as  often  repelled. 
But  it  was  not  sufficient  for  the  Emperor  to  resist  with 
success  and  to  hold  his  positions  ;  he  had,  more  than  ever, 
need  of  a  signal  triumph,  of  a  decisive  victory  ;  and  when 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAl  367 

his  enemies  failed  in  their  first  attack,  it  was  for  him  to 
attack  them  briskly  in  turn  without  giving  them  time  to 
stay  the  disorder  and  discouragement  of  their  columns, 
and  to  replace  by  fresh  troops  the  fatigued  and  beaten 
soldiers;  and  this  Napoleon  did.  He  at  once  charged  and 
with  such  effect,  that  Murat's  cavalry  were  at  one 
time  in  possession  of  a  great  gap  between  the  two  wings 
of  the  enemy.  The  Cossacks  of  the  Russian  Imperial 
Guard,  however,  encountered  the  French  horse,  and 
pushed  them  back  again,  preserving  the  army  of  the  allies 
from  a  total  defeat.  The  combat  raged  without  intermis- 
sion until  nightfall,  when  both  armies  bivouacked  exactly 
where  the  morning  light  had  found  them,  '  'The  allies  were 
so  numerous  "  said  Napoleon  at  St.  Helena,  "  that  when 
their  troops  were  fatigued  they  were  regularly  relieved 
as  on  dress  parade!"  With  such  a  numerical  superiority, 
they  could  scarcely  be  definitely  beaten  ;  therefore,  not- 
withstanding the  prodigies  of  valor  performed  by  the 
French  army,  the  victory  remained  almost  undecided.  In 
the  centre  and  to  the  right  the  French  had  maintained 
their  position  but  on  the  left  treachery  made  them  lose 
ground. 

Marmont  commanded  on  this  side.  Blucher  attacked 
him  with  a  vastly  superior  force  in  numbers  and  while 
nothing  could  be  more  obstinate  than  his  defense,  he  lost 
many  prisoners  and  guns,  was  driven  from  his  original 
ground,  and  occupied  when  the  day  closed,  a  new  posi- 
tion, much  nearer  the  walls  of  the  city. 

Napoleon  became  convinced  that  he  must  at  last  retreat 
from  I,eipsic  and  he  now  made  an  effort  to  obtain  peace. 
General  Merfeld,  the  same  Austrian  officer  who  had  come 
to  his  headquarters  after  the  battle  of  Austerlitz,  to  pray 


368  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

for  an  armistice  on  the  part  of  the  Kmperor  Francis,  had 
been  made  prisoner  in  the  course  of  the  day,  and  Napoleon 
resolved  to  employ  him  as  his  messenger.  Merfeld 
informed  him  that  the  King  of  Bavaria  had  at  length 
acceded  to  the  alliance,  thus  adding  greatly  to  his  per- 
plexities in  finding  a  new  enemy  stationed  on  the  line  of 
his  march  to  France. 

The  Emperor  asked  the  Austrian  to  request  for  him  the 
personal  intervention  of  Francis.  ' '  I  will  renounce 
Poland  and  Illyria' '  said  he,  ' '  Holland,  the  Hanse  Towns, 
and  Spain.  I  will  consent  to  lose  the  sovereignty  of  the 
kingdom  of  Italy,  provided  that  state  remain  as  an  inde- 
pendent one,  and  I  will  evacuate  all  Germany.  Adieu! 
Count  Merfeld.  When  on  my  part  you  name  the  word 
armistice  to  the  two  emperors,  I  doubt  not  the  sound  will 
awaken  many  recollections.  ' ' 

Napoleon  received  no  answer  to  his  message.  The 
allied  princes  had  sworn  to  each  other  to  entertain  no 
treaty  while  one  French  soldier  remained  on  the  eastern 
side  of  the  Rhine.  He  therefore  prepared  for  the  difficult 
task  of  retreating  with  100,000  men,  through  a  crowded 
town,  in  presence  of  an  enemy  already  twice  as  numerous, 
and  in  hourly  expectation  of  being  joined  by  a  thiid  great 
and  victorious  army.  During  the  17th  the  battle  was  not 
renewed  except  by  a  distant  and  partial  cannonade.  The 
allies  were  determined  to  have  the  support  of  Bernadotte 
in  the  decisive  contest. 

On  the  morning  of  the  i8th  the  battle  began  again 
about  8  o'clock  and  continued  until  nightfall  without 
intermission.  Never  was  Napoleon's  generalship  or  the 
gallantry  of  his  troops  more  thoroughly  tested  than  on  this 
terrible  day.     He  again  commanded  on  the  south  and 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  369 

again,  in  spite  of  the  vast  superiority  of  the  enemy's 
numbers,  the  French  maintained  their  ground  to  the  end. 
On  the  north  the  arrival  of  Bernadotte  enabled  Blucher  to 
push  his  advantages  with  irresistible  effect  ;  and  the  situa- 
tion of  Marmont  and  Ney  was  further  perplexed  by  the 
shameful  defection  of  1 2,000  Saxons  who  went  over  with  all 
their  artillery  to  the  enemy  in  the  very  midst  of  the  battle. 
These  Saxons,  forming  nearly  a  third  of  the  left,  ran  over 
to  the  Russians,  entered  their  ranks,  and  at  Bernadotte's 
request  discharged  their  artillery  on  the  French,  their  fel- 
low-soldiers, whom  they  had  just  abandoned! 

The  loss  on  either  side  had  been  very  great.  Napoleon's 
army  consisted  chiefly  of  very  young  men,  many  were 
merely  boys,  yet  they  fought  as  bravely  as  the  Guard. 
The  failure  of  the  Emperor  was  partly  occasioned  by  a  want 
of  ammunition  ;  as  in  the  course  of  five  days,  having  fired 
more  than  two  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  shots,  his  troops 
had  not  sufficient  to  continue  the  firing  two  hours  longer. 
As  the  nearest  reserves  were  at  Madgeburg  and  Erfurt, 
Napoleon  determined  to  march  for  the  latter  place.  He 
gave  orders  at  midnight  for  the  commencement  of  the 
inevitable  retreat,  and  while  the  darkness  lasted,  the  troops 
continued  to  file  through  the  town,  and  across  the  two 
bridges,  over  the  Pleisse,  beyond  its  walls  One  of  these 
bridges  was  a  temporary  fabric  and  broke  down  ere  day- 
light came  to  show  the  enemy  the  movement  of  the 
retreating  French. 

The  confusion  necessarily  accompanying  the  march  of 
a  whole  army,  through  narrow  streets,  and  upon  a  single 
bridge,  was  fearful.  The  allies  stormed  at  the  gates  on 
either  side,  and,  but  for  the  heroism  of  Macdonald  and 
Poniatowski,  to  whom  Napoleon  intrusted  the  defense  of 


370  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

the  suburbs,  it  is  doubted  whether  he  himself  could  have 
escaped  in  safety.  At  9  in  the  morning  of  the  19th  Napo- 
leon bade  farewell  to  the  King  of  Saxony  who  had 
remained  all  the  while  in  the  heart  of  his  ancient  city. 
The  King  was  left  to  make  whatever  terms  _he  could 
with  the  Allied  Sovereigns. 

The  battle  was  now  raging  all  round  the  walls  and  at 
II  o'clock  the  allies  had  gathered  close  to  the  bridge. 
The  officer  to  whom  Napoleon  had  committed  the  task  of 
blowing  up  the  structure,  when  the  advance  of  the  enemy 
should  render  this  necessary,  set  fire  to  the  train  much 
too  soon.  Tne  crowd  of  men,  urging  each  other  on  to  a 
point  of  safety  could  not  at  once  be  stopped  and  soldiers, 
horses  and  cannon,  rolled  headlong  into  the  deep,  but 
narrow  river.  Marshal  Macdonald  swam  the  stream  in 
safety,  but  the  gallant  Poniatowski,  who  defended  the 
suburbs  inch  by  inch,  and  had  been  twice  wounded  ere  he 
plunged  his  horse  into  the  current,  sank  to  rise  no  more. 
This  order  was  given  to  Poniatowski  by  the  Emperor 
himself:  "Prince"  said  Napoleon  to  him,  "you  will 
defend  the  southern  faubourg."  "  Sire  "  he  replied,  "  I 
have  but  few  people. "  "  Ah  !  well  !  you  will  defend 
yourself  with  what  you  have."  "Ah!  Sire,  we  will 
maintain  it  !  We  are  always  ready  to  perish  for  your 
Majesty."  The  illustrious,  unfortunate  Pole  kept  his 
word  ;  he  was  never  again  to  behold  the  Emperor.  I^ater 
Napoleon  said  of  him  :  "  Poniatowski  was  a  noble  man, 
honorable  and  brave.  Had  I  succeeded  in  Russia,  I 
intended  to  make  him  king  of  Poland. ' ' 

The  body  of  the  Prince  was  found  on  the  fifth  day  by  a 
fisherman.  He  had  on  his  gala  uniform,  the  epaulets  of 
which  were  studded  with  diamonds,  and  upon  his  fingers 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  371 

were  several  rings  covered  with  brilliants,  while  his 
pockets  contained  snuff-boxes  of  considerable  value,  and 
other  trinkets.  Many  of  these  were  eagerly  purchased 
by  Polish  ofl&cers  who  had  been  made  prisoners. 
Twenty-five  thousand  Frenchmen,  the  means  of  escape 
being  entirely  cut  off,  now  laid  down  their  arms  within 
the  city  with  more  than  two  hundred  pieces  of  cannon. 
In  killed,  wounded  and  prisoners,  Napoleon  lost  at  I^eipsic 
at  least   50,000  men. 

"  This  defeat  at  I^eipsic  "  says  St.Amand,  "  was  for  Na- 
poleon a  combination  of  grief  and  surprise.  Of  all  the 
battles  he  had  fought,  this  was  the  first  that  he  had  lost. 
Up  to  that  time  he  could  boast  that  if  he  had  been  con- 
quered by  the  elements  he  had  never  been  conquered  by 
man;  and  now  he  was  to  know  for  himself  the  sufferings  he 
had  inflicted  on  others.  He  was  to  learn  by  personal 
experience  the  bitteress  of  defeat,  the  anguish  of  retreat, " 
the  desperation  of  useless  bloodshed.  War,  which  up  to 
this  time  had  been  a  source  of  gratification  to  his  unpar- 
alleled pride,  now  showed  to  him  its  horrors,  with  its 
humiliations  and  inexpressible  anguish.  The  hour  had 
struck  when  he  could  make  tardy  reflections  on  the 
emptiness  of  genius  and  glory  on  the  intoxication  of  pride 
that  had  turned  his  head. ' ' 

The  retreat  of  the  French  through  Saxony  was  a  sad 
ending  to  the  auspicious  beginning  which  the  Emperor 
had  opened  the  campaign  with.  Napoleon  conducted 
himself  as  became  a  great  mind  amidst  great  misfortunes  ; 
he  appeared  at  all  times  calm  and  self-possessed,  receiving 
every  day  that  he  advanced  new  tidings  of  evil,  for  the 
peasantry  was  hostile,  supplies  scarce,  and  added  to  this 
was  the  persevering  pursuit  of  the  Cossacks  who  attacked 
at  every  opportunity. 


372  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Bmperor  halted  for  two  days  at  Erfurt,  where 
extensive  magazines  had  been  established,  employing  all 
his  energies  in  the  restoring  of  discipline.  He  resumed 
his  march  on  the  25th  of  October,  ,xSi3,  towards  the 
Rhine.  The  Austro-Bavarians  hastened  to  meet  him  and 
had  taken  up  a  position  amidst  the  woods  near  Hanau 
before  the  Emperor  reached  the  Mayne.  He  came  up 
with  them  on  the  morning  of  the  30th,  and  his  troops 
charged  on  the  instant  with  the  fury  of  desperation. 
Napoleon  cut  his  way  through  ere  nightfall,  and  Mar- 
mont,  with  the  rear,  had  equal  success  on  the  31st.  In 
these  actions  the  French  lost  6,000  men  but  the  enemy 
had  10,000  killed  or  wounded,  and  lost  4,000  prisoners. 

The  mill  on  the  river  Kinzig  which  runs  without  the 
town,  was  the  scene  of  many  desperate  struggles.  Here 
the  French  drove  the  Bavarians  to  the  banks,  precipitating 
hundreds  into  the  deep  stream.  The  miller,  however, 
at  the  risk  of  his  life,  at  length  coolly  went  out,  amidst  a 
shower  of  balls  and  stopped  the  flood-gates,  so  as  to  leave 
a  safe  retreat  to  the  Bavarians  over  the  mill-dam.  The 
side  of  the  town  next  to  the  scene  of  battle  was  constantly 
taken  and  retaken  by  the  contending  armies,  and  during 
the  night  of  the  30th  the  watch-word  was  changed  not 
less  than  seven  times.  Six  of  the  Austro-Bavarian's  gen- 
erals were  killed  or  wounded  and  both  cannon  and  flags 
were  left  in  the  power  of  the  conqueror. 

The  pursuit  of  Napoleon,  which  had  been  intrusted  to 
the  Austrians,  was  far  from  vigorus  and  no  considerable 
annoyance  succeeded  the  battle  of  Hanau.  The  relics  of 
the  French  host,  now  reduced  to  60,000  men,  at  length 
passed  the  Rhine  ;  and  the  Emperor,  having  quitted  them 
at  Mayence,  arrived  in  Paris  on  the  9th  of  November. 


XIV 
THE  INVASION  OF  FRANCE 

By  the  defeat  of  the  Emperor  in  the  campaign  of  1813 
the  Confederation  of  the  Rhine  was  dissolved  forever. 
The  princes  who  adhered  to  that  league  were  now  per- 
mitted to  sue  for  forgiveness  by  bringing  a  year's  revenue 
and  a  double  conscription  to  the  banner  of  the  Allies. 
Bernadotte  turned  from  lycipsic  to  reduce  the  garrisons 
which  Napoleon  had  not  seen  fit  to  call  in,  and  one 
by  one  they  fell,  though  in  most  cases,  particularly  at 
Dantzic,  Wirtemberg  and  Hamburg,  the  resistance  was 
obstinate  and  long. 

The  Crown  Prince  of  Sweden  having  witnessed  the 
reduction  of  some  of  these  fortresses,  and  intrusted  the 
siege  of  others  to  his  lieutenants,  invaded  Denmark  and 
the  government  of  that  country  severed  its  long  adhesion 
to  Napoleon  by  a  treaty  concluded  at  Kiel  on  the  14th  of 
January,  18 14,  Sweden  yielded  Pomerania  to  Denmark  ; 
Denmark  gave  up  Norway  to  Sweden  ;  and  10,000  Danish 
troops  having  joined  his  standard,  Bernadotte  turned  his 
face  towards  the  Netherlands.  Holland  also  revolted 
after  I^eipsic,  the  Prince  of  Orange  returning  in  triumph 
from  England  and  assumed  administration  of  affairs  in 
the  November  following.  On  the  side  of  Italy,  Eugene 
Beauharnais  was  driven  beyond  the  Adige  by  an  Austrian 
army  headed  by  General  Hiller,  and  it  was  not  at  all 
likely  that  he  could  hope  to  maintain  lyOmbardy  much 
longer.  To  complete  Napoleon's  perplexity  his  brother- 
in-law,  Murat,  was  negotiating  with  Austria  and  willing, 

373 


374  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

provided  Naples  was  guaranteed  to  him,  to  array  the  force 
of  that  state  on  the  side  of  the  Confederacy.  Beyond  the 
Pyrenees,  Soult,  who  had  been  sent  from  Dresden  to 
retrieve,  if  possible,  the  fortunes  of  the  army  defeated  in 
June  at  Vittoria,  had  been  twice  defeated  ;  the  fortresses 
had  fallen,  and  except  a  detached,  and  now  useless  force 
under  Suchet  in  Catalonia,  there  remained  no  longer  a 
single  French  soldier  in  Spain. 

Such  were  the  tidings  which  reached  Napoleon  from ' 
his  Italian  and  Spanish  frontiers  at  the  very  moment 
when  it  was  necessary  for  him  to  make  head  against  the 
Russians,  the  Austrians,  and  the  Germans,  chiefly  armed 
and  supplied  at  the  expense  of  England,  and  now  rapidly 
concentrating  in  three  great  masses  on  different  points  of 
the  valley  of  the  Rhine.  The  royalists,  too,  were  exerting 
themselves  indefatigably  in  the  capital  and  the  provinces, 
having  recovered  a  large  share  of  their  ancient  influence 
in  the  society  of  Paris  even  before  the  Russian  expedi- 
tion. The  Bourbon  princes  watched  the  course  of  events 
with  eager  hope.  The  republicans,  meanwhile,  were  not 
inactive.  They  had  long  since  been  alienated  from  Napo- 
leon by  his  assumption  of  the  imperial  dignity,  his  crea- 
tion of  orders  and  nobles,  and  his  alliance  with  the  House 
of  Austria;  these  men  had  observed,  with  hardly  less 
delight  than  the  royalists,  that  succession  of  reverses 
which  had  followed  Napoleon  in  his  last  two  campaigns. 
Finally,  not  a  few  of  Napoleon's  own  ministers  and  gen- 
erals were  well  prepared  to  take  a  part  in  his  overthrow. 
Talleyrand,  and  others  only  second  to  him  in  influence, 
were  in  communication  with  the  Bourbons,  before  the 
allies  crossed  the  Rhine.  "Ere  then,"  said  Napoleon,  "I 
felt  the  reins  slipping  from  my  hands. ' ' 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  375 

The  Allied  Princes  issued  at  Frankfort,  a  manifesto  on 
the  ist  of  December  in  which  the  sovereigns  announced 
their  belief  that  it  was  for  the  interests  of  Europe  that 
France  should  continue  to  be  a  powerful  state,  and  their 
willingness  to  concede  to  her,  even  now,  greater  extent 
of  territory  than  the  Bourbon  kings  had  ever  claimed — 
the  boundaries,  namely,  of  the  Rhine,  the  Alps,  and  the 
Pyrenees.  Their  object  in  invading  France  was  to  put  an 
end  to  the  authority  which  Napoleon  had  usurped  over 
other  nations.  The  hostility  of  Europe,  they  said,  was 
against, — not  France,  but  .  Napoleon — and  even  as  to 
Napoleon,  against  not  his  person  but  his  system.  These 
terms  were  tendered  to  the  Emperor  himself,  and  although 
he  authorized  Caulaincourt  to  commence  negotiations  in 
his  behalf,  it  was  merely  for  the  purpose  of  gaining  time. 

Napoleon's  military  operations  were  now  urged  with 
unremitting  energy.  New  conscriptions  were  called  for, 
and  granted  ;  every  arsenal  sounded  with  the  fabrication 
of  arms.  The  press  was  thoroughly  aroused  and  with  its 
mighty  voice  warned  the  allies  against  an  invasion  of  the 
sacred  soil  of  France.  The  French  Senate  was  somewhat 
reluctant,  however ;  they  ventured  to  hint  to  the  Emperor 
that  ancient  France  would  remain  to  him,  even  if  he 
accepted  the  proposals  of  the  allies.  "Shame  on  you," 
cried  the  Emperor,  ' '  Wellington  has  entered  the  south, 
the  Russians  menace  the  northern  frontier,  the  Prussians, 
Austrians,  and  Bavarians  the  eastern.  Shame !  Wel- 
lington is  in  France  and  we  have  not  risen  en  masse  to 
drive  him  back  !  All  my  allies  have  deserted — the 
Bavarian  has  betrayed  me.  No  peace  until  we  have 
burned  Munich  !  I  demand  a  levy  of  300,000  men — with 
this  and  what  I  already  have,  I  shall  see  a  million  in  arms. 


376  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

I  will  form  a  camp  of  100,000  at  Bordeaux  ;  another  at 
Mentz  ;  a  third  at  lyyons.  But  I  must  have  grown  men  : 
these  bo5^s  only  serve  to  incumher  the  hospitals  and  the 
road-sides.  Abandon  Holland  !  Sooner  yield  it  back  to 
the  sea  !  Senators,  an  impulse  must  be  given— all  must 
march — you  are  fathers  of  families — the  head  of  the 
nation — you  must  set  the  example.  Peace  !  I  hear  of 
nothing  but  peace  when  all  around  should  echo  to  the  cry 
of  war  !  ' ' 

The  Senate  drew  up  and  presented  a  report  which 
renewed  the  Emperor' s  wrath.-  He  reproached  them  openly 
with  designing  to  purchase  inglorious  ease  for  themselves, 
at  the  expense  of  his  honor.  ' '  In  your  address ' '  he  said, 
' '  you  seek  to  separate  the  sovereign  from  the  nation.  I 
alone  am  the  representative  of  the  people.  And  which  of 
you  could  charge  himself  with  a  like  burden  ?  The  throne 
is  but  of  wood,  decked  with  velvet.  If  I  believed  you,  I 
should  yield  the  enemy  more  than  he  demands  ;  in  three 
months  you  shall  have  peace,  or  I  will  perish.  It  is 
against  me  that  our  enemies  are  more  embittered  than 
against  France,  but  on  that  ground  alone  am  I  to  be  suffered 
to  dismember  the  State  ?  Do  not  sacrifice  my  pride  and 
my  dignity  to  obtain  peace.  Yes,  I  am  proud  because 
I  am  courageous  ;  I  am  proud  because  I  have  done  great 
things  for  France.  *  *  *  You  wished  to  bespatter  me 
with  mud,  but  I  am  one  of  those  men  who  may  be  killed 
yet  not  dishonored. 

"  Return  to  your  homes  ^  *  *  even  supposing  me 
to  have  been  in  the  wrong,  there  was  no  occasion  to 
reproach  me  publicly  ;  dirty  linen  should  be  washed  at 
home.  For  the  rest;  France  has  more  need  of  me,  than  I 
have  of  France. ' ' 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  2,77 

Having  uttered  these  words  the  Emperor  repaired  to  his 
council  of  state  and  there  denounced  the  I^egislative  Senate 
as  one  composed  of  one  part  of  traitors  and  eleven  of 
dupes,  "  In  place  of  assisting, "  he  said,  "they  impede 
me.  Our  attitude  alone  could  have  repelled  the  enemy — 
they  invite  him,  "We  should  have  presented  a  front  of 
brass — they  lay  open  wounds  to  his  view,  I  will  not  suffer 
their  report  to  be  printed.  They  have  not  done  their 
duty,  but  I  will  do  mine — I  dissolve  the  IvCgislative 
Senate  !  " 

The  Pope  was  now  released  from  his  confinement  and 
returned  to  Rome  which  he  found  in  the  hands  of  Murat, 
who  had  ere  then  concluded  his  treaty  with  Francis  and 
was  advancing  into  the  north  of  Italy,  with  the  view  of 
co-operating  in  the  campaign  against  Beauharnais,  with 
the  Austria  ns  on  one  side  and  on  the  other  with  an  English 
force  recently  landed  at  I,eghorn,  under  I^ord  William 
Bentinck.  Ferdinand  also  returned  to  Spain,  after  five 
years  of  captivity,  amid  universal  acclamations.  "When 
first  informed  of  Murat' s  treason,  by  the  Viceroy 
(Eugene) ,  "says  Bourrienne  '  'the  Emperor  refused  to  be- 
lieve it.  'No! '  he  exclaimed  to  those  about  him,  '  It  cannot 
be  !  Murat — to  whom  I  have  given  my  sister!  Eugene  must 
be  misinformed.  It  is  impossible  that  Murat  has  declared 
himself  against  me  .  '  It  was,  however,  not  only  possible 
but  true."  As  St.  Amand  well  says,  in  speaking  of 
Murat' s  desertion:  "He  might  have  united  his  forces 
with  those  of  Prince  Eugene  and  have  attacked  the  inva- 
sion in  •  the  rear  ;  he  would  have  saved  the  Empire  of 
France  ;  he  would  have  died  on  the  throne,  covered  with 
glory,  instead  of  being  shot !  " 


378  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

For  a  time  the  inhabitants  of  the  French  provinces 
on  the  frontier  believed  it  impossible  that  any  foreign 
army  would  dare  to  invade  their  soil,  and  it  was  not  until 
Schwartzenberg  had  crossed  the  Rhine  between  Basle  and 
Schaffhausen  on  the  20th  of  December,  that  they  were 
willing  to  believe  in  the  sincerity  of  the  Allies  and  their 
determination  to  carry  the  war  into  France  itself.  Dis- 
regarding the  claim  of  the  Swiss  to  preserve  neutrality, 
Schwartzenberg  advanced  through  that  territory  with  his 
grand  army,  unopposed — an  indefensible  act  in  itself,  and 
began  to  show  himself  in  Franche-Compte,  in  Burgundy, 
even  to  the  gates  of  Dijon, 

On  the  ist  of  January,  18 14,  the  Silesian  army,  under 
Blucher,  crossed  the  river  at  various  points  between 
Rastadt,  and  Coblentz  ;  and  shortly  after,  the  army  of  the 
north,  commanded  by  Witzingerode  and  Bulow,  began  to 
penetrate  the  frontier  of  the  Netherlands. 

The  Pyrenees  had  been  crossed  by  Wellington  and  the 
Rhine  by  three  mighty  hosts,  amounting  altogether  to 
300,000  men  and  including  every  tongue  and  tribe  from 
the  Germans  of  Westphalia  to  the  wildest  barbarians  of 
Tartary,  ' '  Seven  hundred  thousand  men,  ' '  says  Dumas, 
' '  trained  by  their  very  defeats  in  the  the  great  school  of 
Napoleonic  war,  were  advancing  into  the  heart  of 
France,  passing  by  all  fortified  places  and  responding,  the 
one  to  the  other,  by  the  single  cry,  'Paris!  Paris!'" 

The  allies  proclaimed  everywhere  as  they  advanced, 
that  they  came  as  the  friends,  not  the  enemies  of  the 
French  nation,  and  that  any  of  the  peasantry  who  took  up 
arms  to  oppose  them  must  be  content  to  abide  the  treat- 
ment of  brigands  ;  a  flagrant  outrage  against  the  most 
sacred  and  inalienable  rights  of  mankind. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  379 

Meanwhile,  nearer  and  nearer  each  day  the  torrent  of 
invasion  rolled  on,  sweeping  before  it,  with  but  slight 
resistance,  the  various  corps  which  had  been  left  to  watch 
the  Rhine.  Ney,  Marmont,  Victor  and  Mortier,  com- 
manding in  all  about  50,000  men,  retired  of  necessity  before 
the  enemy 

It  now  became  apparent  that  the  allies  had  resolved"  to 
carry  the  war  into  the  interior  without  waiting  for  the 
reduction  of  the  great  fortresses  on  the  Rhenish  frontier. 
They  passed  on  with  hosts  overwhelmingly  superior  to  all 
those  of  Napoleon's  lieutenants,  who  withdrew,  followed 
by  crowds  of  the  rustic  population,  rushing  onwards 
towards  Paris  by  any  means  of  transport.  Carts  and 
wagons,  filled  with  terrified  women  and  children  thronged 
every  avenue  to  the  capital. 

The  Emperor  now  resolved  to  break  silence  to  the 
Parisians  and  prepared  to  reappear  in  the  field.  On  the 
2 2d  of  January,  18 14,  the  of&cial  news  of  the  invasion 
appeared.  The  next  morning — Sunday — the  ofiicers  of 
the  National  Guard  to  the  number  of  nine  hundred  were 
summoned  to  the  Tuileries.  Napoleon  took  his  station  in 
the  centre  of  the  hall  and  immediately  the  Empress,  with 
her  son,  the  King  of  Rome,  carried  in  the  arms  of  Countess 
Montesquiou,  appeared  at  his  side. 

' '  Gentlemen, ' '  said  the  Emperor  ' '  France  is  invaded  ; 
I  go  to  put  myself  at  the  head  of  my  troops,  and  with  God's 
help  and  their  valor,  I  hope  soon  to  drive  the  enemy 
beyond  the  frontier. ' '  Here  he  took  Marie  Louise  in  one 
hand  and  her  son  in  the  other,  and  continued,  "  But  if 
they  should  approach  the  capital,  I  confide  to  the  National 
Guard  the  Empress  and  the  King  of  Rome — my  wife  and 
my  child  !  ' ' — Several  officers  stepped  from  their  places 
and  approached  with  tears  in  their  eyes. 

25 


38o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Emperor  spent  part  of  the  24th  of  January  in 
reviewing  troops  in  the  court- yard  of  the  Tuileries,  while 
the  snow  was  falling,  and  at  3  o'clock  in  the  morning  of 
the  25th  once  more  left  his  capital,  after  having  burnt  his 
most  secret  papers,  and  embraced  his  wife  and  son  for  the 
last  time,  to  begin  his  fifteenth  campaign.  Thiers  says 
of  this  farewell:  "Napoleon,  when  he  left,  unconscious 
that  he  was  embracing  them  for  the  last  time,  hugged 
tenderly  his  wife  and  son.  His  wife  was  in  tears,  and  she 
feared  she  would  never  see  him  again.  She  was  in  fact 
fated  never  to  s(te  him,  although  the  enemy's  bullets  were 
not  to  kill  him.  She  would  certainly  have  been  much 
surprised  if  she  had  been  told  that  this  husband,  then  the 
object  of  all  her  care,  was  to  die  on  a  distant  island,  the 
prisoner  of  Europe,  and  forgotten  by  her.  As  for  him, 
no  prediction  would  have  astonished  him, — whether  the 
crudest  desertion,  the  most  ardent  devotion, — for  he 
expected  anything  from  men  ;  he  knew  them  to  the  core, 
though  he  treated  them  as  if  he  did  not  know  what  they 
really  were." 

The  Emperor  again  appointed  Marie  Louise  Empress- 
Regent,  placed  his  brother  Joseph  at  the  head  of  her 
council,  gave  orders  for  raising  military  defenses  around 
Paris,  and  for  converting  many  public  buildings  into 
hospitals.  He  arrived  at  Chalons  ere  midnight  and  found 
that  Schwartzenberg  with  97,000  men,  and  Blucher  with 
40,000  men,  -^ere  now  occupying  an  almost  complete 
line  between  the  Marne  and  the  Seine.  Blucher  was  in 
his  own  neighborhood  and  he  immediately  resolved  to 
attack  the  right  of  the  Silesian  army, — which  was  pushing 
down  the  valley  of  the  Marne,  while  its  centre  kept  the 
parallel  course  of  the  Aube, — ere  the  Prussian  marshal 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  381 

could  concentrate  all  his  own  strength  or  be  supported  by 
Schwartzenberg  who  was  advancing  down  the  Seine 
towards  Bar. 

On  the  27th  of  January  a  sharp  skirmish  took  place  at 
St.  Dizier  ;  and  Blucher,  who  had  committed  all  sorts  of 
excesses  during  the  last  two  days,  warned  of  Napoleon's 
arrival,  at  once  called  in  his  detachments  and  took  a  post 
of  defense  at  Brienne — the  same  town  where  Bonaparte 
had  received  his  military  education. 

The  Kmperor  marched  through  a  thick  forest  upon  the 
scene  of  his  youthful  studies  and  appeared  there  on  the 
29th,  having  moved  so  rapidly  that  Blucher  was  at  dinner 
in  the  chateau  when  the  French  thundered  at  his  gates, 
and  with  difficulty  escaped  to  the  rear  through  a  passage, 
on  foot  and  at  the  head  of  his  staff. 

The  invaders  maintained  their  place  in  the  town  cour- 
ageously, and  some  Cossacks,  throwing  themselves  upon 
the  rear  of  the  French,  the  Emperor  was  involved  in  the 
melee;  he  quickly  drew  his  sword  and  fought  like  a  private 
dragoon  and  General  Gourgaud  shot  a  Cossack  while  in 
the  act  of  thrusting  a  spear  at  Napoleon's  back.  The 
town  of  Brienne  was  burned  to  the  ground  by  the  Prus- 
sians in  order  to  cover  their  retreat. 

AlsusiefF,  the  Russian  commander,  and  Hardenberg,  a 
nephew  of  the  Chancellor  of  Prussia, were  made  prisoners 
and  there  was  considerable  slaughter  on  both  sides. 
Blucher  retired  further  up  the  Aube  with  a  loss  of  4,000 
men  and  posted  himself  at  La  Rothiere,  where  Schwartz- 
enberg, warned  by  the  cannonade,  hastened  to  co-operate 
with  him. 

While  at  St.  Helena  Napoleon  said  that  during  the 
charge  of  the  Cossacks  at  Brienne  defending  himself,  sword 


382  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

in  hand,  he  recognized  a  particular  tree  under  which, 
when  a  boy,  he  used  to  sit  and  read  the  "Jerusalem 
Delivered"  of  Tasso.  The  field  had  been  in  those  days, 
part  of  the  exercise-ground  of  the  students,  and  the 
chateau,  whence  Blucher  escaped  so  narrowly,  their 
lodging. 

Blucher  now  assumed  the  offensive,  having  joined 
Schwartzenberg,  and  on  the  istof  February  assaulted  the 
rear-guard  of  the  French  army.  Proud  of  their  numerical 
superiority  they  reckoned  upon  an  easy  triumph.  The 
battle  lasted  all  day.  At  nightfall  the  French  were 
left  in  possession  of  iheir  original  positions.  A  battery 
of  guns  had  been  taken,  however,  and  Napoleon  lost  on 
this  occasion  seventy-three  guns,  and  some  hundred 
prisoners,  besides  a  number  of  killed  and  wounded.  The 
result  of  this  action  was  equivalent  to  a  defeat  of  the  French 
army.  -The  cannoniers  saved  themselves,  with  their  bag- 
gage, by  forming  a  squadron  and  fighting  vigorously  as 
soon  as  they  perceived  that  there  was  no  time  to  use  their 
pieces. 

The  battle  of  Brienne  and  the  defense  of  La  Rothiere, 
Dienville  and  I^a  Giberie,  had  gloriously  opened  the  cam- 
paign, but  Blucher  and  Schwartzenberg  had  such  consid- 
erable forces  at  their  disposal  that  Napoleon  might  fear 
being  surrounded,  or  cut  off  from  his  capital,  if  he  per- 
sisted in  retaining  his  position  in  the  environs  of  Brienne. 
The  allies  had  now  definitely  resolved  to  march  on  Paris. 

While  the  division  of  Marmont  retired  down  the  Aube 
before  Blucher,  Napoleon  himself  struck  across  the  country 
to  Troyes  which  he  had  reasons  to  fear  must  be  imme- 
diately occupied  by  Schwartzenberg.  Here  he  was  joined 
by  a  considerable  body  of  his  Guard,  in  high  order  and 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  383 

Spirits,  whose  appearance  restored,  in  a  great  measure, 
the  confidence  of  the  troops  who  had  been  engaged  in  the 
defense  of  La  Rothiere.  On  the  3rd  of  February  the 
Emperor  received  a  dispatch  from  Caulaincourt,  inform- 
ing him  that  lyord  Castlereagh,  the  English  Secretary  of 
State  for  Foreign  Affairs,  had  arrived  at  the  headquarters 
of  the  allies,  that  negotiations  were  to  be  resumed  the 
morning  after  at  Chatillon,  and  requesting  him  to  intimate 
distinctly  at  what  price  he  would  be  willing  to  purchase 
peace. 

Napoleon  replied  by  granting  Caulaincourt  full  powers 
to  do  everything  necessary  "  to  keep  the  negotiations 
alive  and  save  the  capital."  The  Duke  was  unwilling  to 
act  upon  so  broad  a  basis  and  sent  back  once  more  for  a 
specific  detail  of  the  Emperor's  purposes. 

Napoleon  had  his  headquarters  at  Nogent,  on  the  Seine, 
some  leagues  below  Troyes,  when  the  dispatch  reached 
him  on  the  evening  of  the  8th  of  February,  and  his  coun- 
sellors urged  him  to  make  use  of  this,  probably  last,  oppor- 
tunity. He  was  prevailed  upon  to  agree  to  abandon 
Belgium,  the  left  of  the  Rhine,  Italy  and  Piedmont,  but 
in  the  night  after  the  consultation,  and  before  the  ultima- 
tum had  his  signature,  he  received  information  which 
caused  him  to  change  all  his  views.  When  Maret  visited 
him  with  his  dispatches  ready  for  signing  Napoleon  was 
poring  over  his  maps,  tracing  the  route*  of  Blucher  on 
Paris.  "Oh  here  you  are!"  he  exclaimed  as  Maret 
entered,  "but  I  am  now  thinking  of  something  very 
different — I  am  beating  Blucher  on  the  map.  He  is 
advancing  by  the  road  to  Montmirail;  I  will  set  out  and 
beat  him  to-morrow.  Should  this  movement  prove  as 
successful  as  I  expect  it  will,  the  state  of  affairs  will  be 
entirely  changed,  and  we  shall  then  see  what  can  be  done." 


384  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Emperor  had  learned  that  Blucher,  instead  of  con- 
tinuing his  march  down  the  Aube,  and  in  communication 
with  Schwartzenberg  on  the  Seine,  had  transferred  his 
whole  army  to  the  Marne,  and  was  now  advancing  towards 
Paris  by  the  Montmirail  road. 

The  separation  of  their  forces  by  the  allies  was  a  great 
blunder  and  the  Emperor,  who  at  once  detected  it,  could  not 
resist  the  temptation  which  it  presented  to  make  one  war- 
like effort  more.  Napoleon,  therefore,  refused  to  sign 
the  dispatch  on  the  morning  of  the  9th  and  having  left 
small  forces  to  defend  the  bridge  over  the  Seine  at  Nogent 
and  at  Bray,  commenced  his  march,  with  the  main  body 
of  his  army,  upon  Sezanne,  prepared  for  one  of  the  most 
extraordinary  and  successful  manoeuvres  which  has  ever 
been  recorded  in  the  annals  of  war. 

Forty  miles  were  traversed  over  a  most  difficult  country, 
usually  considered  impassable  in  winter, — ere  the  troops 
halted  with  the  dark.  Next  morning  the  army  moved 
again  with  equal  alacrity,  and  at  length  debouched  on  the 
road  by  which  Blucher' s  army  was  advancing,  at  Champ- 
aubert. 

The  central  division  was  passing  when  Napoleon  sud- 
denly appeared  at  this  point,  and  was  altogether  unable 
to  resist  his  assault.  They  dispersed  in  confusion  with 
great  loss  and  fled  towards  the  Marne.  The  General- 
in-chief,  Ousouwieff,  at  the  head  of  twelve  regiments 
was  completely  routed.  He  was  taken  with  6,000  of  his 
men,  and  the  remainder  were  drowned  in  a  swamp,  or 
killed  on  the  field  of  battle.  Forty  pieces  of  cannon,  and  all 
the  ammunition  and  baggage  were  left  in  the  power  of  the 
victor.  Napoleon  had  now  interposed  his  army  between 
the  advanced  guard  of  the  Silesian  army,  commanded  by 
Sacken,  and  the  rear  commanded  by  Blucher  himself. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  385 

The  van  of  the  same  army  turned,  on  hearing  the  can- 
nonade of  Champaubert,  and  countermarched  with  the 
view  of  supporting  AlsusiefP  only  to  share  the  fate  of  the 
centre,  and  were  put  to  flight  after  the  loss  of  one-fourth  of 
the  division. 

Now  it  was  Blucher's  turn  to  be  beaten.  Napoleon 
mounted  his  horse  at  midnight  on  the  13th  and  came  up 
with  him  at  Montmirail.  At  8  o'clock  in  the  morning  the 
shouting  of  the  soldiers  announced  the  presence  of  the 
Emperor.  Blucher  would  gladly  have  declined  battle, 
but  it  was  out  of  his  power.  He  was  conquered  but 
retreated  with  great  skill  and  courage.  After  many 
hours  of  hard  fighting  his  retreat  became  a  flight. 
Blucher  was  frequently  obliged  to  defend  himself  with 
his  sabre  during  the  day , surrounded  by  his  staff, and  chiefly 
owed  his  escape  to  the  darkness  of  the  night. 

He  retired  in  alternate  squares,  sustaining  all  day  the 
charges  of  the  French  with  much  loss  of  life  and  at 
length  cut  his  way,  at  Ktoges,  through  a  column  of  heavy 
horse,  sent  round  to  intercept  him,  and  drawn  up  on  the 
causeway. 

On  the  following  day  there  was  a  fresh  success.  A 
hostile  column,  endeavoring  to  protect  Blucher's  retreat, 
was  taken  at  Chateau  Thierry,  where  the  French  troops 
entered  pell-mell  upon  the  Russians  and  Prussians.  Five 
generals  of  these  two  nations  were  among  the  prisoners. 

Blucher  finally  crossed  the  Marne  at  Chalons.  In  five 
days  Napoleon's  armies  had  been  successful  three  times  ; 
he  had  shattered  and  dispersed  the  Silesian  army,  and 
above  all,  recovered  the  spirits  of  his  own  soldiery. 

A  column  of  7,000  Prussian  prisoners,  with  a  con- 
siderable number   of  guns   and  standards,  reminded  the 


386  IMILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Parisians  that  the  commander  of  the  French  troops  had 
not  forgotten  the  art  of  warfare  and  their  hopes  were  con- 
siderably heightened  on  hearing  of  these  successes  against 
the  allies.  But  these  allied  armies,  annihilated  each 
day,  reappeared  incessantly,  and  always  ready  for  battle. 
All  Europe  was  now  contending  against  the  Emperor  and  her 
beaten  and  dispersed  soldiers  were  immediately  replaced 
by  fresh  troops.  ' '  So  alarmed  were  the  Allies  at  the  near 
approach  of  their  terrible  enemy,"  says  Scott,  "that  a 
message  was  sent  to  Napoleon,  from  the  Allied  Sovereigns, 
by  Prince  Schwartzenberg's  aide-de-camp.  Count  Par, stat- 
ing their  surprise  at  his  offensive  movements,  since  they  had 
given  orders  to  their  plenipotentiaries  at  Chatillon  to  sign 
the  preliminaries  of  peace,  on  the  terms  which  had  been 
assented  to  by  the  French  envoy. "  Napoleon  had,  how- 
ever, learned  the  meaning  of  such  messages  in  the  course 
of  his  career,  and  paid  no  attention  to  this  one. 

Scarcely  had  the  Parisians  seen  the  prisoners  from 
Montmirail  marched  along  their  boulevards,  before  they 
heard  that  the  Cossacks  were  in  possession  of  Fontaine- 
bleau.  Napoleon  had  left  small  divisions  of  his  army  to 
guard  the  Seine  at  Nogent  and  Bray,  and  the  enemy  soon 
discovered  that  the  Emperor  and  his  chief  force  were  no 
longer  in  that  quarter.  While  he  was  beating  AlsusiefF, 
Sacken  and  Blucher  had  made  good  the  passage  of  the 
Seine  at  three  different  points,  driving  the  discomfited 
guardians  of  these  important  places  before  them.  Schwartz- 
enberg  now  had  his  quarters  at  Nangis,  and  was, 
obviously,  resolved  to  reach  Paris,  if  possible,  while 
Napoleon  was  on  the  Marne.  The  light  troops  of  the 
grand  allied  army  were  scattering  confusion  on  both  sides 
of  the  Seine,  and  one  party  of  them  was  so  near  the 
capital  as  Fontainebleau. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  387 

Napoleon  now  committed  to  Marmont  and  Mortier  the 
care  of  watching  the  Chalons  road  and  the  remains  of 
Blucher's  army,  and  marched  with  his  main  body  on 
Meaux  where  on  the  1 5th  of  February  he  received  rein- 
forcements of  20,000  veterans  from  Spain,  commanded  by 
Grouchy. 

The  latter' s  troops  had  aided  Marmont  on  the  14th  in  a 
victory  over  Blucher  at  the  village  of  Vauchamp  which 
cost  the  allies  ten  thousand  prisoners,  ten  flags,  ten  pieces 
of  cannon  and  many  prisoners,  including  General  Ourous- 
sofF,  in  command  of  the  Russian  rear-guard. 

On  the  1 6th  Victor  and  Oudinot  were  engaged  with  the 
van  of  Schwartzenberg,  on  the  plains  of  Guignes,  when 
the  Emperor  came  rapidly  to  their  assistance.  The 
enemy  immediately  drew  back,  and  concentrated  his 
strength  at  Nangis.  Napoleon  attacked  that  position  on 
the  morning  of  the  17th,  and  with  such  effect  that  the 
allies  were  completely  routed  and  retreated  after  consider- 
able loss.  They  halted,  however,  at  Montereau  and  Victor, 
who  commanded  the  pursuers  on  that  route,  failed  to  dis- 
lodge them  because  of  greatly  inferior  numbers.  Napoleon 
came  up  on  the  morning  of  the  i8th  and  rebuked  Victor; 
then  dismissed  him  from  the  service.  The  marshal, 
with  tears  streaming  down  his  face,  said:  "  I  will  procure 
a  musket,  I  have  not  forgotten  my  old  trade  ;  Victor  will 
place  himself  in  the  ranks  of  the  Guard." 

The  Emperor  was  vanquished  by  this  noble  language. 
"Well!  Well!  Victor,"  said  he,  tendering  his  hand, 
' '  remain  ;  I  cannot  restore  you  your  corps,  since  I  have 
given  it  to  Gerard,  but  I  award  you  two  divisions  of  the 
Guard ;  go  and  take  the  command  of  them,  and  let 
there  be  no  longer  a  question  of  anything  between  us. ' ' 


388  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  attack  then  commenced  with  fury  and  the  bridge 
and  town  of  Montereau  were  carried.  The  defense  was 
long  and  stern,  however,  and  Napoleon  was  occasionally 
seen  pointing  cannon  with  his  own  hand,  under  the 
heaviest  of  the  fire.  The  artillerymen  protested  at  the 
exposure  of  his  person  and  entreated  him  to  withdraw. 
He  persisted  in  his  work,  answering  gaily,  "  My  children! 
the  bullet  that  shall  kill  me  is  not  yet  cast. ' '  The  inhabi- 
tants of  Montereau  associated  themselves  with  this 
triumph  by  firing  from  their  windows  on  the  Austrians 
as  they  passed  through  the  town. 

After  distributing  praises  and  rewards  to  the  generals 
who  had  contributed  to  gaining  this  battle,  Napoleon 
thought  of  those  who  had  delayed  their  march,  or  exhib- 
ited negligence  in  their  command,  and  among  those 
reprimanded  were  Generals  Guyot,  Digeonand  Montbrun, 
the  latter  for  having  abandoned  the  forest  of  Fontainebleau 
to  the  Cossacks,  without  resistance. 

Pursuing  his  advantage  Napoleon  saw  the  grand  army 
of  the  invaders  continue  their  retreat  in  the  direction  of 
Troyes,  and  on  the  morning  of  the  2 2d  arrived  before 
Mery,  This  town  he  found  occupied,  much  to  his  aston- 
ishment, not  by  a  feeble  rear-guard  of  Schwartzenberg 
but  by  a  powerful  division  of  Russians,  commanded  by 
Sacken  and  therefore  belonging  to  the  apparently  inde- 
structible army  of  Blucher.  These  unexpected  enemies 
were  charged  in  the  streets, and  at  length  retired  out  of  the 
town, — which  was  burnt  to  the  ground  in  the  struggle,- - 
and  thence  bej^ond  the  Aube.  The  Emperor  then  halted, 
and  spent  the  night  of  the  2  2d  of  February  in  a  charcoal 
burner's  cottaare  at  Chatres. 


NAPOLEON  7 HE  GREAT  389 

Meanwhile  negotiations  were  still  pending  at  Chatillon. 
Caulaincourt,  receiving  no  answer  to  his  second  dispatch 
sent  to  Napoleon  at  Nogent  on  the  8th  of  February,  pro- 
ceeded to  act  on  the  instructions  dated  at  Troyes  on  the 
3d  ;  and  in  effect  accepted  the  basis  of  the  Allies.  When 
Schwartzenberg  was  attacked  at  Nangis,  on  the  17th,  he 
had  just  received  the  intelligence  of  Caulaincourt' shaving 
signed  the  preliminary  articles,  and  he,  therefore,  sent  a 
messenger  to  ask  why  the  Kmperor,  if  aware  of  his 
ambassador's  act,  persisted  in  hostilities;  but  received  no 
answer. 

Napoleon  sent  instead  a  private  letter  to  the  Emperor 
of  Austria, once  more  trying  to  gain  his  friendship.  The 
reply  of  Francis,  written  to  him  from  Nangis,  reached 
Napoleon  at  Chatres  on  the  23d.  It  announced  Francis' 
resolution  on  no  account  to  abandon  the  general  cause, 
but  declared  that  he  lent  no  support  to  the  Bourbonists, 
and  urged  Napoleon  to  avert  by  concession,  ere  it  was  too 
late,  total  ruin  from  himself  and  his  House.  Napoleon 
returned  the  envoy  with  a  note  signifying  that  now  he 
would  not  consent  to  a  day's  armistice,  unless  the  Allies 
would  fall  back  so  as  to  leave  Antwerp  in  their  front. 
The  same  evening  news  came  from  Paris  that  the  Council 
of  'State  had  discussed  the  proposals  of  the  Allied  Powers, 
and  with  only  one  dissenting  voice,  now  entreated  the 
Emperor  to  accept  them.  He  was  urged,  anew,  to  send 
to  Chatillon  and  accept  the  basis  to  which  Caulaincourt 
had  agreed.  He  answered  that  he  had  sworn  at  his  coro- 
nation to  preserve  the  territory  of  the  Republic  entire, 
and  that  he  could  not  sign  this  treat)^  without  violating 
his  oath.  "  If  I  am  to  be  scourged  "  said  he,  "let  the 
whip  come   on  me   of  necessity,   and  not   through   any 


390  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

voluntary  stooping  of  my  own."  The  truth  of  these 
attempts  at  negotiation  is  that  the  Allies  merely  desired  a 
simple  suspension  of  arms,  in  order  to  gain  time  to  rein- 
force themselves,  and  also  in  order  to  interrupt  the  too 
rapid  course  of  Napoleon's  successes  in  the  last  eight 
days.  This  the  Emperor  easily  discerned  through  the 
maze  of  the  contrary  declarations  of  the  foreign  negotia- 
tors, and  in  fact  is  avowed  by  the  historians  of  the 
campaigns  of  the  Allies. 

Napoleon  now  resolved  to  push  on  as  far  as  Troyes,  at 
the  same  time  permitting  proposals  for  an  armistice  to  be 
considered  at  L,usigny,  and  negotiations  for  peace  to 
proceed  at  Chatillon.  The  Kmperor  had  meanwhile 
requested  Oudinot  and  Macdonald,  with  their  divisions, 
to  manoeuvre  in  the  direction  of  Schwartzenberg,  in 
order  to  keep  the  Austrians  in  check. 

Napoleon  learned  at  Troyes,  in  the  night  of  the  26th  of 
February,  that  the  Prussian  army  was  in  motion.  His 
resolution  was  soon  taken.  He  again  hastened  to  the 
succor  of  his  capital,  and  came,  with  the  prodigious 
celerity  which  rendered  his  marches  and  manoeuvres  so 
distinguishing,  to  fall  upon  the  rear  of  Blucher,  who  still 
had  Marmont  and  Mortier  in  front.  Marching  rapidly 
across  the  country  to  Sezanne  he  received  intelligence 
that  these  two  generals,  finding  themselves  inferior  in 
numbers  to  Blucher,  had  retired  before  him  in  the  direction 
of  Ferte-sous-Jouarre,  and  were  in  full  retreat  to  Meaux. 
This  point  he  considered  as  almost  a  suburb  to  Paris  and 
he  quickened  his  speed  accordingly.  Hurrying  on,  at 
Ferte-Goucher  he  was  at  once  met  and  overtaken  by 
evil  tidings.  Schwartzenberg,  having  discovered  the  Km- 
peror's  absence,  had  immediately  assumed  the  offensive, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  391 

defeated  Oudinot  and  Macdonald  at  Bar-sur-Aube  on  the 
27th,  and  driven  them  before  him  as  far  as  Troyes  ;  and 
Augereau,  who  commanded  in  the  neighborhood  of  I^yons, 
announced  the  arrival  of  a  new  and  great  army  of  the 
AlHes  in  that  quarter.  On  the  ist  of  March  an  important 
treaty  was  ratified  at  Chaumont  between  the  sover- 
eigns of  Austria,  England,  Russia  and  Prussia,  by  which 
the  four  contracting  powers  bound  themselves  each  to 
maintain  in  the  field  an  army  of  one  hundred  and  fifty 
thousand  men  until  the  objects  of  the  war  were  attained  ; 
Kngland,  as  usual,  engaging,  over  and  above,  to  furnish 
a  subsidy  of  four  millions  sterling.  In  a  second  clause, 
^ach  of  the  four  powers  was  bound  never  to  make  a  sepa- 
rate peace  with  the  common  enemy.  About  the  same 
time  the  commissioners  at  lyusigny  broke  up  the  nego- 
tiations for  an  armistice,  on  the  plea  of  inability  to  settle 
the  line  of  demarcation. 

Napoleon's  operations  were  not  checked,  however. 
Having  been  detained  for  some  time  at  Ferte,  in  conse- 
quence of  the  destruction  of  the  bridge,  he  took  the  direc- 
tion of  Chateau  Thierry  and  Soissons,  where  he  hoped  to 
receive  Blucher,  while  Mortier  and  Marmont  received 
orders  to  assume  the  offensive  in  front  of  Meaux.  The 
Emperor  hoped  in  this  manner  to  throw  himself  on  the 
flank  of  Blucher' s  march,  as  he  had  done  before  at  Cham- 
paubert ;  but  the  Prussian  received  intelligence  of  his 
approach  and  drawing  his  troops  together,  retired  to 
Soissons.  Napoleon  proceeded  thither  with  alacrity, 
believing  that  the  French  garrison  intrusted  with  the  care  of 
that  town, and  its  bridge  over  the  Marne, was  still  in  posses- 
sion of  it, and  would  enable  him,  therefore,  to  force  Blucher 
into  action  with  this  formidable  obstacle  in  his  rear.     He 


392  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

did  not  know  that  Soissons  had  been  taken  by  a  Russian 
corps,  retaken  by  a  French  one  and  fallen  once  more  into 
the  hands  of  the  enemy,  ere  the  Emperor  came  in  sight 
of  it.  He  assaulted  the  place  with  much  vigor  but  the 
Russians  repelled  the  attack.  Learning  that  Blucher  had 
filed  his  main  body  through  the  town  and  posted  himself 
behind  the  Marne,  Napoleon  marched  up  the  left  bauk  of 
the  river  and  crossed  it  also  at  Bery. 

A  few  leagues  in  front  of  this  place,  on  the  height  of 
Craonne,  two  Russian  corps, — those  of  Sacken  and  Witz- 
ingerode, — were  already  in  position,  and  the  Emperor  lost 
no  time  in  charging  them  there,  in  the  hope  of  destroying 
them  ere  they  could  unite  with  Blucher.  The  battle  of 
Craonne  began  at  ii  a.  m.  on  the  ythof  March  and  lasted 
until4  o'clockin  the  afternoon.  The  resistance  of  the  enemy 
was  most  stubborn  and  the  Emperor  was  preparing  for  a 
final  effort,  when  suddenly  the  Russians  began  to  retreat 
and  he  remained  master  of  the  field.  He  followed  them  ; 
but  they  continued  to  withdraw  having  been  ordered  to 
fall  back  on  the  plateau  of  lyaon,  in  order  to  form  there  on 
the  same  line  with  Blucher,  who  was  once  more  eager  for 
a  decisive  conflict, — having  been  reinforced  by  the  van- 
guard of  Bernadotte's  army. 

On  the  9th  of  March  Napoleon  found  his  enemy  strongly 
posted  along  an  elevated  ridge,  covered  with  wood,  and 
further  protected  in  front  by  a  succession  of  terrace  walls, — 
the  enclosures  of  vineyards.  There  was  a  heavy  mist  on 
the  lower  ground  and  the  French  were  advancing  up  the 
hill  ere  their  movement  was  discovered.  They  were  met 
by  a  storm  of  cannonade  which  broke  their  centre, and  on 
either  flank  the  French  were  all  but  routed.  On  all  points 
they   were   repelled,    except    at    the  village    of    Athies, 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  393 

where  Marmont  had  some  advantage.  Night  interrupted 
the  contest,  and  the  armies  bivouacked  in  full  view  of  each 
other.  Napoleon,  although  he  had  suffered  severely, 
resolved  to  renew  the  attack  and  mounted  his  horse 
accordingly  at  4  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  the  loth.  At 
that  moment  news  came  that  Marmont' s  corps  had  just 
been  assaulted  at  Athies  and  were  compelled  to  fly  towards 
Corbeny. 

The  battle  of  Laon  continued,  all  day,  however  ;  Napo- 
leon was  unable  to  turn  his  adversaries  and  on  the  nth 
he  commenced  his  retreat,  leaving  thirty  cannon  and  10,000 
men.  Soissons  had  been  evacuated  by  the  allies  when 
concentrating  themselves  for  the  battle  of  I^aon,  and 
Napoleon  threw  himself  into  that  town,  and  was  making 
rapid  efforts  to  strengthen  it  in  expectation  of  the  Prussian 
advance,  when  he  learned  that  a  detached  Russian  corps 
had  seized  Rheims. 

The  possession  of  this  city  could  hardly  fail  to  establish 
Blucher's  communications  with  Schwartzenberg,  and 
Napoleon  instantly  marched  thither  in  person  leaving 
Marmont  to  hold  out  as  well  as  he  could  in  case  that  should 
be  the  direction  of  Blucher's  march.  The  Emperor  came 
upon  Rheims  with  his  usual  rapidity  and  on  the  13  th  took 
the  place  by  assault. 

In  this  crisis,  in  which  Napoleon  was  battling  against 
numbers  overwhelmingly  his  superior,  it  is  remarkable 
to  note  the  energy  with  which  he  turned  from  enemy 
to  enemy,  and  behold  his  fearless  assaults  on  vastly 
superior  numbers,  his  unwearied  resolution  and  exhaustless 
invention.  In  his  every  movement  he  seemed  a  perfect 
master  of  warfare;  but  he  was  battling  against  odds  which 
even  his  indomitable  will,  courage  and  foresight, could  not 


394  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

overcome.  It  should  not  be  forgotten,  also,  that  in  addition 
to  this  extraordinary  series  of  campaigns,  he  continued  to 
conduct,  from  his  perpetually  changing  quarters,  the  civil 
business  of  his  Empire. 

The  Allies,  by  a  series  of  victories  in  various  quarters, 
were  now,  to  all  appearance,  in  full  march  upon  Paris, 
both  by  the  valley  of  the  Marne,  and  by  that  of  the 
Seine, at  a  moment  when  Napoleon  had  thought  to  defeat 
their  movements  by  taking  up  a  position  between  them  at 
Rheims.  When  Schwartzenberg  learned  that  the  Kmperor 
was  at  this  point  his  old  terror  returned,  and  the  Austrian 
instantly  proposed  to  fall  back  from  Troyes.  This  did 
not  please  Lord  Castlereagh  who  announced  that  the 
Grand  Army  might  retire  if  the  sovereigns  pleased,  but 
that  if  such  a  movement  took  place  the  subsidies  of 
England  must  be  considered  at  an  end.  The  Czar  also 
opposed  the  over-caution  of  Schwartzenberg,  who  then 
took  courage,  and  his  columns  instantly  resumed  their 
march  down  the  Seine,  to  offer  battle  to  Napoleon  at  Arcis, 

The  Emperor  was  now  struggling  to  decide  which  of 
two  courses  to  pursue  ;  should  he  hasten  after  Blucher  on 
the  Marne,  what  was  to  prevent  Schwartzenberg  from 
reaching  Paris  ere  the  Silesians, already  victorious  at  lyaon, 
could  once  more  be  brought  to  action  by  an  inferior  force: 
should  he  throw  himself  on  the  march  of  Schwartzenberg, 
would  not  the  fiery  Prussian  be  at  the  Tuileries  long 
before  the  Austrian  could  be  checked  on  the  Seine?  There 
remained  a  third  course — namely,  to  push  at  once  into  the 
country  in  the  rear  of  the  Grand  Army  and  thus  strike  the 
advancing  Allies,  both  the  Austriansand  Prussians, with 
terror,  and  paralyze  their  movements.  Would  they  per- 
sist  in   their  cry,    "On    to   Paris!"    when    they    knew 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  395 

Napoleon  to  be  posting  himself  between  them  and  their 
resources,  and  at  the  same  time  relieving  and  rallying 
around  him  all  the  garrisons  of  the  great  fortresses  of  the 
Rhine?  While  Napoleon  was  thus  tossed  with  anxiety 
for  means  to  avert,  if  it  were  yet  possible,  the  visitation 
of  these  mighty  armies  upon  Paris,  and  unaware  of 
Castlereagh's  very  effective  threat,  the  capital  showed 
small  symptoms  of  sympathizing  with  him.  The  machinery 
of  government  was  clogged  in  every  wheel, and  the"neces- 
sity  of  purchasing  peace  by  abandoning  him  was  the 
common  burden  of  conversation. 

In  this  extreme  situation,  the  gravity  and  peril  of  which 
he  measured  with  a  glance,  the  Emperor  felt  that  he  could 
only  escape  by  a  striking  and  decisive  action,  and  he  did 
not  hesitate  to  direct  the  intended  blow  towards  Schwartz- 
enberg,  whose  approach  already  spread  alarm  throughout 
the  capital.  The  Emperor  Alexander,  on  learning  the 
successes  of  Napoleon  at  Craonne  and  Rheims,  had  feared 
that  Schwartzenberg,  by  approaching  the  capital  alone, 
would  be  again  beaten  separately,  and  that  all  these  daily 
and  isolated  defeats  would  end  by  discouraging  the  troops 
of  the  Coalition,  already  filled  with  apprehension  and 
alarm.  The  Czar,  therefore,  insisted  in  that  council  of  war 
held  at  Troyes,  that  the  two  grand  allied  armies  should 
forthwith  manoeuvre  so  as  to  effect  their  junction  in  the 
environs  of  Chalons,  in  order  to  march  thence  on  Paris, 
and  crush  everything  which  might  be  opposed  to  their 
passage. 

This  advice  had  prevailed  and  Napoleon  met,  on  the 
20th,  before  Arcis,  the  entire  army  of  Schwartzd-berg, 
which  was  bearing  in  a  mass  for  this  town,  in  order  to 
cross  the  Aube,  and  rapidly  gain  the  plains  of  Champagne 
where  the  i unction  was  to  be  effected. 

26 


396  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

This  sudden  change  of  system  in  the  military  operations 
of  the  Allies  completely  disarranged  all  the  plans  o/ 
Napoleon, who  quickly  perceived  the  difficult  and  perilou? 
position  in  which  he  was  placed,  by  encountering  an  army 
three  times  as  strong  as  his  own,  where  he  had  only 
thought  to  find  a  rear-guard.  However,  he  quickly  decided 
to  take  the  chance  by  casting  into  the  struggle  the  weight 
of  his  own  example,  and  reckoning  his  personal 
dangers  for  nothing.  His  cavalry  had  orders  to 
attack  the  Austrian  light  troops  while  the  infantry 
debouched  from  Arcis  ;  but  they  were  repulsed  by  thfe 
overpowering  numbers  opposed  to  them  and  driven  back 
upon  the  town.  In  this  extremity,  Napoleon  evinced  the 
same  heroic  and  almost  reckless  courage  which  he  had 
shown  at  lyodi  and  Areola,  and  on  other  occasions.  He 
threw  himself,  sword  in  hand,  among  the  broken  cavalry, 
called  on  them  to  remember  their  former  victories,  and 
checked  the  enemy  by  an  impetuous  charge  in  which  he 
and  his  stafi"-officers  fought  hand  to  hand  with  the  invaders. 
"  Surrounded  in  the  crowd  by  the  charges  of  cavalry," 
says  Baron  Fain,  in  a  volume  called  "  The  Manuscript  of 
i8 14, "  giving  an  account  of  the  engagement  at  Arcis,  * '  he 
freed  himself  only  by  making  use  of  his  sword.  On 
divers  occasions,  he  fought  at  the  head  of  his  escort,  and, 
far  from  avoiding  the  dangers,  he  seemed,  on  the  contrary, 
to  brave  them.  A  shell  fell  at  his  feet ;  he  awaited  its 
bursting,  and  disappeared  in  a  cloud  of  dust  and  smoke  ; 
he  was  believed  to  be  lost ;  presently  he  arose,  flung 
himself  upon  another  horse,  and  again  went  to  place  him- 
self beneath  the  fire  of  the  batteries  !  *  *  *  Death  would 
have  nothing  to  do  with  him  !" 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  397 

In  spite  of  the  prodigious  efforts  of  the  French  army, 
and  the  unchangeable  heroism  of  its  chief,  the  battle  of 
Arcis  could  not  hinder  the  passage  of  the  Aube,  by  the 
Austrians.  The  Emperor  retired  in  good  order,  on  the 
2ist,  after  having  done  the  enemy  much  harm,  and 
held  him  in  check  for  a  whole  day  ;  but  Schwartzenberg 
ended  by  gaining  the  road  which  was  to  conduct  him  to 
Blucher. 

Napoleon  now  decided  on  throwing  himself  upon 
the  rear  of  the  Allies.  They  were  for  some  time  quite 
uncertain  of  his  movements  after  he  quitted  Rheims, 
until  an  intercepted  letter  to  Marie  lyouise  informed  them 
that  he  was  at  St.  Dizier,  where  Napoleon  had  slept  on  the 
23d.  He  continued  to  manoeuvre  on  the  country  beyond 
this  point  for  several  days.  Having  seized  the  roads  by 
which  the  Allies  had  advanced,  he  took  many  prisoners 
of  distinction  on  their  way  to  headquarters  and  at  one 
time  the  Emperor  of  Austria  himself  escaped  narrowly 
a  party  of  French  hussars.  At  St.  Dizier,  Caulaincourt 
rejoined  the  Emperor  and  announced  to  him  the  definite 
rupture  of  the  negotiations  with  the  Allies.  This,  how- 
ever, was  no  surprise;  but  was  expected.  The  only  real 
discomfiture  it  caused  was  among  the  malcontents  in  the 
army,  whose  chief  regret  was  at  being  from  Paris, 
and  who  asked  each  other,  barely  out  of  hearing  of  the 
Emperor,  ' '  Where  are  we  going  ?  What  is  to  become  of 
us  ?  If  he  falls,  shall  we  fall  with  him  ?  ' ' 

On  the  26th  of  March  the  distant  roaring  of  artillery 
was  heard  at  intervals  on  the  boulevards  of  Paris  and  the 
alarm  began  to  be  violent.  On  Sunday  the  27th,  Joseph 
Bonaparte  held  a  review  in  the  Place  Carrousel.     That 


398  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

same  evening  the  allies  passed  the  Marne  at  various  points 
and  at  3  o'clock  in  the  morning  they  took  Meaux.  The 
regular  troops  now  marched  out  of  the  capital, leaving  all 
the  barriers  in  charge  of  the  National  Guard.  On  the 
29th  the  Empress,  her  son,  and  most  of  the  members  of 
the  Council  of  State,  set  off  attended  by  700  soldiers,  for 
Rambouillet  from  which  they  continued  their  journey  to 
Blois.  Queen  Hortense,  afflicted  at  seeing  the  Empress- 
Regent  and  her  son  abandon  the  capital  to  intriguers  and 
conspirators,  strongly  pressed  her  to  remain,  and  said  with 
a  prophetic  conviction  :  "If  you  leave  the  Tuileries,  you 
will  never  see  them  again  !  " 

"  One  of  the  most  astonishing  circumstances  of  the 
moment,"  says  Pons  de  ly'  Herault,  a  historian  of  the 
period,  "is  undeniably,  the  obstinacy  with  which  the  King 
of  Rome  refused  to  depart.  This  obstinacy  was  so  great, 
that  it  became  necessary  to  use  violence  in  order  to  remove 
the  young  prince.  The  cries  of  the  infant-king  were 
heart-rending.  He  repeated  several  times  :  '  My  father 
told  me  not  to  go  away  ! '  All  the  spectators  shed  tears. ' ' 
The  young  prince  had  declared  again  and  again  that  ' '  his 
papa  was  betrayed ' '  and  his  declaration  has  never  been 
satisfactorily  accounted  for  and  can  only  be  explained  by 
the  supposition  that  he  had  heard  the  subject  discussed 
among  those  who  considered  that  all  was  lost  in  aban- 
doning the  capital. 

Joseph  now  published  the  following  proclamation  : 
"  Citizens  of  Paris  !  A  hostile  column  has  descended  on 
Meaux.  It  advances ;  but  the  Emperor  follows  close 
behind,  at  the  head  of  a  victorious  army.  The  Council 
of  Regency  has  provided  for  the  safety  of  the  Empress  and 
the  King  of  Rome.     I  remain  with  you.     I^et  us  arm  our- 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  399 

selves  to  defend  this  city,  its  monuments,  its  riches,  our 
wives,  our  children — all  that  is  dear  to  us.  I^et  this  vast 
capital  become  a  camp  for  some  moments  ;  and  let  the 
enemy  find  his  shame  under  the  walls  which  he  hopes  to 
overleap  in  triumph.  The  Kmperor  marches  to  our  succor. 
Second  Him  by  a  short  and  vigorous  resistance, and  preserve 
the  honor  of  France. ' ' 

The  appeal  did  not  produce  the  results  hoped  for.  Some 
officers  urged  Savary  to  have  the  streets  unpaved  and 
persuade  the  people  to  arm  themselves  with  stones  and 
prepare  for  a  defense  such  as  Saragossa.  He  answered, 
shaking  his  head,  "  the  thing  cannot  be  done." 

On  the  30th  the  Allies  fought  and  won  the  final  battle. 
The  French  occupied  the  whole  of  the  range  of  heights 
from  the  Marne  at  Charenton,  to  the  Seine  beyond 
St.  Denis  ;  the  Austrians  beginning  the  attack  about  1 1 
o'clock  towards  the  former  of  these  points,  while  nearly 
in  the  midst  between  them,  a  charge  was  made  by  the 
Russians  on  Pantin  and  Belleville.  The  French  troops  of 
the  line  were  commanded  by  Marmont  and  Mortier  ;  those 
battalions  of  the  National  Guard,  whose  spirit  could  be 
trusted,  and  who  were  adequately  armed,  took  their  orders 
from  Marshal  Moncey  and  formed  a  second  line  of  defense. 
The  scholars  of  the  Polytechnic  School  volunteered  to 
serve  at  the  great  guns,  and  the  artillery  though  weak  in 
numbers,  was  well  arranged.  At  the  barrier  of  Clichy,  in 
particular,  the  Allies  met  with  a  spirited  resistance.  The 
pattern  of  the  French  soldiers,  the  brave  Moncey,  was 
there,  with  his  son,  and  with  him  AUent,  the  leader  of 
his  staff ;  celebrated  artists  and  distinguished  writers 
surrounded  him  and  shared  his  perils.  Among  the  former 
was  Horace  Vernet  whose  Napoleonic  pictures  have  since 


400  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

become  famous  in  two  continents.  The  defense  of  the 
city,  while  brave  and  determined  was  ineffectual,  and 
courage  was  at  length  compelled  to  yield  to  numbers. 

By  2  o'clock  the  Allies  were  victorious  at  all  points 
except  Montmartre.  Marmont  then  sent  several  aides-de- 
camp to  request  an  armistice  and  offer  a  capitulation  in 
order  to  save  the  capital.  The  Czar  and  the  King  of 
Prussia  professed  their  willingness  to  spare  the  city,  pro- 
vided the  regular  troops  would  evacuate  it. 

Blucher  meanwhile  continued  pressing  on  at  Mont- 
martre and  shortly  after  4  o'clock,  the  victory  being  com- 
pleted in  that  direction,  the  French  cannon  were  turned 
on  the  city  and  shot  and  shells  began  to  spread  destruction 
within  its  walls.  The  capitulation  was  drawn  up  at  5 
o'clock,  close  to  the  barrier  St.  Denis. 

It  was  not  until  the  27th  that  Napoleon  distinctly 
ascertained  the  fact  of  both  the  allied  armies  having 
marched  directly  on  Paris.  He  instantly  resolved  to  hasten 
after  them,  in  hopes  of  arriving  on  their  rear  ere  they  had 
mastered  the  heights  of  Montmartre,  Arriving  at  Doule. 
vent  on  the  29th  he  received  a  message  from  I,avallette, 
his  Post- Master  General,  who  wrote:  "The  partisans 
of  the  Stranger  are  making  head,  aided  by  secret  intrigues. 
The  presence  of  the  Emperor  is  indispensable — if  he 
desires  to  prevent  his  capital  from  being  delivered  to  the 
enemy.     There  is  not  a  moment  to  be  lost  !  ' ' 

Urging  his  advance  accordingly.  Napoleon  reached 
Troyes  en  the  night  of  the  2gth,  his  men  having  marched 
fifteen  leagues  since  daybreak.  General  Dejean,  his  aide- 
de-camp,  rode  on  before  him  bound  for  Paris  to  announce 
to  the  Parisians  that  the  Emperor  flew  to  succor  them. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  401 

On  the  30th  Macdonald  attempted  to  convince  him  that 
the  fate  of  Paris  must  have  been  decided  ere  he  could  reach 
it,  and  advised  him  to  march, without  further  delay,  so  as 
to  form  a  conjunction  with  Augereau.  "In  that  case," 
said  the  marshal,  "  we  may  unite  and  repose  our  troops, 
and  yet  give  the  enemy  battle  on  a  chosen  field.  If  Provi- 
dence has  decreed  our  last  hour,  we  shall  at  least  die  with 
honor,  instead  of  being  dispersed,  pillaged  and  slaugh- 
tered by  Cossacks." 

The  Emperor  was  unwilling  to  abide  by  the  counsel  of 
his  marshal,  but  continued  to  advance ;  finding  the  road 
beyond  Troyes  clear  he  threw  himself  into  a  postchaise 
and  traveled  on  before  his  army  at  full  speed.  At 
Villeneuve  L' Archereque  he  mounted  on  horseback  and 
galloping  without  a  pause,  reached  Fontainebleau  late  at 
night.  Here  he  ordered  a  carriage,  and  taking  Caulain- 
court  and  Berthier,  drove  on  towards  Paris.  He  was  still 
of  the  belief  that  he  was  yet  in  time — until,  while  he  was 
changing  horses  at  an  inn  called  ' '  La  Cour  de  France  ' ' , 
but  a  few  miles  from  Paris,  General  Belliard  came  up,  at 
the  head  of  a  weary  column  of  cavalry  marching  towards 
Fontainebleau, in  consequence  of  the  provisions  of  Mar- 
mont's  treaty  with  the  Allies.  He  was  too  late  !  Paris 
had  capitulated  ! 

lycaping  from  his  carriage  as  the  words  reached  his 
ears,  the  Emperor  exclaimed,  "What means  this?  Why 
here  with  your  cavalry,  Belliard  ?  And  where  are  the 
enemy  ?  Where  are  my  wife  and  boy  ?  Where  Mar- 
mont  ?     Where  Mortier  ?  ' ' 

Belliard,  walking  by  his  side,  told  him  of  the  events  of 
the  day.  Still  the  Emperor  insisted  on  continuing  his 
journey  although  again  informed  there  was  no  longer  an 


402  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

army  in  Paris  ;  that  the  regulars  were  all  coming  behind, 
and  that  neither  they  nor  he  himself,  having  left  the  city 
in  consequence  of  a  convention,  could  possibly  return  to 
it.  It  seemed  impossible  for  him  to  comprehend  the 
astounding  intelligence  of  Belliard  who  said;  "Paris  is  sur- 
rounded by  one  hundred  and  thirty   thousand  enemies." 

Napoleon  bade  Belliard  turn  with  his  cavalr}'-  and  follow 
him.  "Come' '  said  he  '  'we  must  return  to  Paris, — nothing 
goes  aright  when  I  am  away— they  do  nothing  but  blun- 
der!" As  he  progressed  he  continued,  "  You  should  have 
held  out  longer — you  should  have  raised  Paris — they  can- 
not like  the  Cossacks — they  would  surely  have  defended 
their  walls.  Go  !  Go  !  I  see  everyone  has  lost  his  senses. 
This  comes  of  employing  fools  and  cowards. ' ' 

The  Kmperor  and  Belliard  continued  Paris- ward,  until 
they  were  met,  a  mile  beyond  the  post-house,  by  the  first 
column  of  the  retreating  infantry.  Their  commander, 
General  Curial,  reiterated  what  Belliard  had  said.  "In 
proceeding  to  Paris,"  he  said,  "  you  rush  on  to  death  or 
captivity. ' '  The  Emperor  then  became  at  once  perfectly 
composed  and  abandoned  his  design,  gave  orders  that  the 
troops,  as  they  arrived,  should  draw  up  behind  the  little 
river  Essonne,  and  dispatched  Caulaincourt  to  Paris  to 
ascertain  if  it  were  yet  possible  for  him  to  interpose  in  the 
treaty.  Having  taken  this  measure  he  turned  back 
towards  Kontainebleau. 

Caulaincourt  reached  the  Czar's  quarters  at  Pan  tin 
early  in  the  morning  of  the  31st  of  March  where  he  found 
a  deputation  from  the  municipality  of  Paris  waiting  to 
present  the  keys  of  the  city  and  invoke  the  protection  of 
the  conqueror.  The  Czar  received  them  immediately  on 
arriving  and  promised  that  the  capital,  and  all  within  it, 
should  be  treated  with  perfect  consideration. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  403 

Caulaincourt  then  found  his  way  to  Alexander  ;  but  he 
was  dismissed  immediately.  The  Allies  had  practically 
agreed  in  favoring  the  restoration  of  the  Bourbons,  ere 
any  part  of  their  forces  entered  the  capital,  and  a  procla- 
mation signed,  "Scliwartzenberg,  Commander  of  the  Chief 
of  the  Allied  Armies' '  was  distributed  throughout  Paris 
in  which  there  were  many  phrases  not  to  be  reconciled 
with  any  other  position.  The  royalists  welcomed  with 
exultation  the  dawn  of  the  3  ist  and  issued  proclamations  of 
their  own  appealing  for  restoration,  besides  parading  the 
streets  without  interruption  from  either  the  civil  author- 
ities or  of  the  National  Guard,  although  decorated  with 
the  symbols  of  their  cause. 

At  noon  the  first  of  the  Allied  troops  began  to  pass  the 
barrier  and  enter  the  city,  and  the  triumphal  procession 
lasted  for  several  hours.  Fifty  thousand  troops,  horse, 
foot  and  artillery,  marched  along  the  boulevards  and  in 
their  midst  appeared  the  youthful  Czar  and  the  King  of 
Prussia,  followed  by  a  dazzling  suite  of  princes,  ambas- 
sadors and  generals. 

The  Czar  repaired  to  the  hotel  of  Talleyrand  where  a 
council  was  convened.  Alexander  and  Frederick  were 
urged  to  re-establish  the  House  of  Bourbon.  They  hesi- 
tated :  "  It  is  but  a  few  days  ago  ' '  said  the  Czar,  ' '  since 
a  column  of  five  or  six  thousand  troops  suffered  them- 
selves'to  be  cut  in  pieces  before  my  eyes,  when  a  single 
cry  of  '  Vive  le  Roi! '  would  have  saved  them. ' '  One  of  those 
present  answered  ' '  Such  things  will  go  on  as  long  as  you 
continue  to  treat  with  Bonaparte  even  although  at  this 
moment  he  has  a  halter  round  his  neck."  The  Czar  did 
not  understand  this  allusion  until  it  was  explained  to  him 
that  the  Parisians  were  busy  pulling  down  Napoleon's 


404  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

statue  from  the  top  of  the  great  pillar  in  the  Place 
Vendome. 

Alexander  now  signed  a  proclamation  asserting  the 
resolution  of  the  Allies  ' '  to  treat  no  more  with  Napoleon 
Bonaparte,  or  any  of  his  family."  That  same  evening 
the  Czar,  by  his  minister,  declared  that  "  L<ouis  XVIII 
will  immediately  ascend  the  throne."  A  few  days  later 
myriads  of  hands  were  busy  in  every  corner  of  the  city 
pulling  down  the  statues  and  pictures  and  effacing  the 
arms  of  Napoleon. 

Caulaincourt  returned  to  Fontainebleau  in  the  night 
between  the  2d  and  3d  of  April  and  informed  Napoleon 
that  the  monarchs  he  had  so  often  spared,  and  whose 
royal  destinies  he  could  have  closed  after  Austerlitz, 
Jena,  and  Wagram,  refused  to  treat  with  him, — and 
demanded  his  abdication.  He  added  that  the  Allies  had 
not  yet,  in  his  opinion,  made  up  their  minds  to  resist  the 
scheme  of  a  regency,  but  that  he  was  commissioned  to 
say  that  nothing  could  be  arranged  as  to  ulterior  questions, 
until  he,  the  Emperor,  had  formally  abdicated. 

Napoleon  was  not  yet  prepared  to  give  up  his 
throne  ;  the  news  both  irritated  him  and  made  him  indig- 
nant. He  again  wished  to  try  the  lot  of  arms ;  but  his  old 
companions-in-arms  declared  they  would  take  no  further 
part  in  the  war.  The  next  day,  the  4th  of  April,  he 
reviewed  some  of  his  troops,  addressed  them  on  "the 
treasonable  proceedings  in  the  capital,"  and  announced 
his  intention  of  instantl)'  marching  thither,  being  answered 
by  shouts  of  "  Paris  !  Paris  !  "  Nearly  50,000  men  were 
now  stationed  around  Fontainebleau.  On  parade, Napoleon 
looked  pale  and  thoughtful,  while  his  convulsive  motions 
manifested  his  internal  struggles,  and  he  did  not  stop  many 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  405 

minutes.  On  retiring  to  the  chateau,  after  the  review,  the 
Emperor  was  followed  by  his  marshals,  who  informed  him 
that  if  he  refused  to  negotiate  on  the  basis  of  his  personal 
abdication,  and  persisted  in  risking  an  attack  on  Paris, 
they  would  not  accompany  him.  He  paused  for  a  moment 
in  silence — then  a  long  debate  ensued,  ending  in  his  draw- 
ing up  and  signing  the  following  :  The  Allied  Powers 
having  proclaimed  that  the  Emperor  Napoleon  was  the  sole 
obstacle  to  the  re-establishment  of  peace  m  Europe,  he,  faith- 
ful to  his  oath,  declares  that  he  is  ready  to  descend  from  the 
throne,  to  quit  F7  ance ,  and  even  to  relinquish  life,  for  the 
good  of  his  country  ;  which  is  inseparable  from  the  rights  of 
his  Son,  from  those  of  the  Regency  in  the  person  of  the 
Empress,  and  from  the  maintenance  of  the  laws  of  the 
Empire. 

Done  at  ow  Palace  of  Fontainebleau,  April  the  4th,  18 14. 

Napoi^eon. 

Caulaincourt  was  appointed  to  bear  this  document  to 
Paris  and  the  marshals  proposed  that  Ney  should  accom- 
pany him.  It  was  suggested  that  Marmont  should  also 
form  a  part  of  the  deputation  but  he  being  in  command 
at  Bssonne,  Macdonald  was  named  in  his  stead.  The 
officers  now  desired  to  know  on  what  stipulations,  as 
concerned  the  Emperor  personally,  they  were  to  insist. 
"  On  none, ' '  he  answered  ;  ' '  obtain  the  best  terms  you  can 
for  France — for  myself  I  ask  nothing."  They  then 
departed. 

Shortly  afterwards  Napoleon  asked  Oudinot  if  the 
troops  would  follow  him.  "No,  Sire"  answered  the 
marshal,  "  you  have  abdicated." 

* '  Yes,  upon  certain  conditions. ' ' 


4o6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

' '  The  soldiers  ' '  resumed  Oudinot,  ' '  do  not  comprehend 
the  difference  ;  they  think  you  have  no  more  any  right  to 
command  them." 

"Well  then,"  said  Napoleon,  "it  is  no  more  to  be 
thought  of ;  let  us  wait  for  accounts  from  Paris. ' ' 

Marmont,  whom  he  had  loaded  with  favors,  had  in  the 
meantime  joined  the  Allies,  and  by  a  nocturnal  march  of 
his  arni}^  passed  over  into  the  midst  of  the  enemy, 
enabling  them  to  appear  more  exacting  than  ever,  and 
which  caused  Napoleon  to  denounce  his  treason  to  the 
army  by  an  order  of  the  day  in  which  he  scanned  the 
conduct  of  the  Senate  who  had  also,  on  April  2d,  declared 
Napoleon  Bonaparte  and  his  family  expelled  from  the 
throne  of  France.  "  Marshal  Marmont' s  desertion  was  a 
mortal  blow  to  the  Imperial  cause,"  says  Meneval.  "  It 
decided  the  Emperor  Alexander,  who  till  then  had 
appeared  to'hesitate  on  the  question  of  a  regencj^  to  exact 
in  the  name  of  the  Allied  Powers,  the  unconditional  abdi- 
cation of  the  Emperor."  Talleyrand  said  dryly,  when 
someone  called  Marmont  a  traitor,  ' '  his  watch  only  went 
a  little  faster  than  the  others, ' '  and  in  this  he  spoke  truth- 
fully, for  officers  of  all  ranks  now  rapidly  abandoned  the 
camp  at  Fontainebleau,  and  presented  themselves  to  swear 
allegiance  to  the  new  government,  impatient  to  enjoy  in 
peace  the  honors  and  riches  with  which  Napoleon  had 
loaded  them. 

Caulaincourt  Ney  and  Macdonald,  on  being  admitted  to 
the  presence  of  the  Czar,  the  act  of  abdication  was  pro- 
duced. Alexander  was  surprised  that  it  should  have 
contained  no  stipulations  for  Napoleon  personally  ;  ' '  but 
I  have  been  hi&  friend  ' '  said  he  ' '  and  I  will  willingly  be 
his  advocate.  I  propose  that  he  shall  retain  his  imperial 
title,  wi4;h  the  sovereignty  of  Elba,  or  some  other  island." 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  407 

When  Napoleon's  envoys  retired  from  the  presence  of 
the  Czar  it  still  remained  doubtful  whether  the  abdication 
would  be  accepted  in  its  present  form,  or  the  Allies  would 
insist  on  an  unconditional  surrender.  At  length  they 
signified  their  intention  to  accept  of  nothing  but  an 
unconditional  abdication.  These  terms  were  finally  borne 
by  the  marshals  to  their  waiting  chief.  The  marshals 
returned  in  the  night  about  twelve.  Ney  entered  first: 
"Well,  have  you  succeeded?  ",  said  Napoleon. 

' '  Revolutions  do  not  retrograde, ' '  answered  the  veteran 
marshal,  "this  has  begun  its  course  ;  it  was  too  late: 
tomorrow  the  Senate  will  recognize  the  Bourbons. ' ' 

' '  Where  shall  I  be  able  to  live  with  my  family  ?  ' ' 

"  Where  your  Majesty  pleases  ;  for  example,  in  the  isle 
of  Elba,  with  a  revenue  of  six  millions. ' ' 

"  Six  millions  !  that  is  a  great  deal  for  a  soldier  as  I  am. 
I  see  very  well  I  must  submit. ' ' 

The  form  of  abdication  submitted  by  the  marshals  was 
to  the  following  purport: 

ist.  The  imperial  title  to  be  preserved  by  Napoleon, 
with  the  free  sovereignty  of  Elba,  guards,  and  a  navy 
suitable  to  the  extent  of  that  island;  a  pension,  from 
France,  of  six  millions  of  francs  annually. 

2d.  The  Duchies  of  Parma,  Placentia  and  Guastalla 
to  be  granted  in  sovereignty  to  Marie  lyouise  and  her 
heirs,  and 

3d.  Two  millions  and  a  half  of  francs  annually  to  be 
paid,  by  the  French  government,  in  pensions  to  Josephine 
and  other  members  of  the  Bonaparte  family. 

Napoleon  hesitated  when  he  received  the  formal  ulti- 
matum of  the  invading  powers.  He  thought  seriously  of 
continuing  the  war,  but  the  group  of  his  personal  fol- 
lowers had  been  rapidly  thinned  by  desertion. 


4o8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Oil  the  nth  of  April  he  at  length  abandoned  all  hope 
and  the  next  day  executed  an  instrument  called  the  treaty 
of  Fontainebleau  formally  ' '  renouncing  for  himself  and 
his  heirs,  the  thrones  of  France  and  Italy."  Concerning 
the  act  Napoleon  said,  "I  blush  for  it;  what  avails 
a  treaty,  since  they  will  not  settle  the  interests  of  France 
with  me.  If  only  my  personal  interests  are  concerned, 
there  is  no  need  of  a  treaty.  I  am  conquered ;  I  yield  to 
the  fate  of  arms.  All  I  ask  is,  not  to  be  accounted  a 
prisoner  of  war,"  To  all  suggestions  referring  to  his 
providing  for  his  future  wants  he  replied,  ' '  What  matters 
it  ?     A  horse  and  a  crown  a  day  are  all  I  want ! ' ' 

"Napoleon,  when  he  affixed  his  name  to  the  abdica- 
tion "  says  Baron  Fain,  his  secretary,  "  made  two  or  three 
scratches,  and  a  dent,  with  the  stump  of  his  pen,  or  back 
of  a  knife,  on  the  little,  round,  claw-footed,  yellow  table, 
on  which  it  was  signed.  After  the  resignation  of  the 
Empire,  he  spent  his  time  either  in  conversation  in  his 
apartment, or  in  a  small  English  garden  at  the  back  of  the 
palace.  *  *  *  Napoleon,  during  those  days  of  distress, 
was  seated  alone  for  hours  and  amused  himself  by 
kicking  a  hole,  a  foot  deep,  with  his  heel,  in  the  gravel 
beneath.  *  *  *  At  the  moment  of  Bonaparte's  abdica- 
tion, he  remarked  that  instruments  of  destruction  had 
been  left  in  his  way  ;  he  seemed  to  think  that  they  were 
placed  there  purposely,  in  order  that  he  might  attempt  his 
own  life  ;  and  with  a  sardonic  smile,  said,  *  Self-murder 
is  sometimes  committed  for  love — what  folly  !  Sometimes 
for  the  loss  of  fortune — there  it  is  cowardice  !  Another 
cannot  live  after  he  has  been  disgraced — what  weakness  ! 
But  to  survive  the  loss  of  Empire,  to  be  exposed  to  the 
results  of  one's  contemporaries,  -that  is  true  courage  !  '  " 


XV 
EXIIvE  TO  EI.BA 

The  armies  of  the  AlHes  had  gradually  pushed  forward 
from  Paris  and  now  nearly  surrounded  Fontainebleau. 
When  the  last  of  the  marshals  had  quitted  Napoleon's 
presence  for  the  night,  after  imperiously  demanding  his 
resignation,  he  revolted  at  the  humiliations  he  had  to 
undergo  and  disgusted  at  their  cowardice,  exclaimed: 
' '  These  men  have  neither  hearts  nor  entrails.  I  am 
conquered  less  by  fortune  than  by  the  selfishness  and 
ingratitude  of  my  brothers-in-arms  !  "  The  same  night, 
in  a  fit  of  despair  he  swallowed  a  weak  poison  contained 
in  a  bag  that  he  had  worn  around  his  neck  since  1808. 
The  palace  was  aroused  by  his  cries  and  Dr.  Yvan  hastily 
summoned  by  his  valet.  An  antidote  was  given  him  and 
his  life  saved.  To  Caulaincourt  he  said  an  hour  later: 
' '  God  would  not  allow  it.  I  could  not  die.  Why  did  they 
not  let  me  die?  It  is  not  the  loss  of  my  throne  that 
makes  existence  insupportable  to  me.  My  military 
career  is  enough  glory  for  one  man.  Do  you  know  what 
is  more  difficult  to  bear  than  reverses  of  fortune  ?  It  is 
the  baseness,  the  horrible  ingratitude  of  men.  I  turned 
my  head  away  with  horror  from  the  sight  of  their  mean- 
ness and  their  contemptible  selfishness,  and  I  am  disgusted 
with  life.  What  I  have  suffered  during  the  last  three 
weeks,  no  one  can  tell. ' ' 

Some  months  later,  while  at  Elba,  Napoleon  ascribed 
his  ruin  entirely  to  Marmont,  to  whom  he  had  confided 
some  of  his  best  troops,  and  a  post  of  the  greatest  impor- 

409 


4IO  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

tance,  as  a  person  on  whose  devotion  to  him  he  could  most 
depend.  "  For  how  could  I  expect  to  be  betrayed,"  he 
said,  "  by  a  man  whom  I  had  loaded  with  kindness  from 
the  time  he  was  fifteen  years  of  age  ?  Had  he  stood  firm, 
I  could  have  driven  the  Allies  out  of  Paris,  and  the 
people  there, — as  well  as  throughout  France. — would  have 
risen,  in  spite  of  the  Senate,  if  they  had  haa  a  few  troops 
to  support  them." 

The  Emperor  remained  long  enough  at  Fontainebleau 
to  hear  of  the  restoration  of  the  Bourbon  Monarchy,  and 
on  the  2oth  of  April,  the  commissioners  of  the  Allied 
Sovereigns  having  arrived,  he  once  more  called  his  loyal 
officers  about  him  and  signified  that  they  were  summoned 
to  receive  his  last  adieu.  A  few  of  the  marshals  and 
others  who  had  sworn  fealty  to  the  new  monarch  were  also 
present.  "lyouis,  (the  King) ,  Napoleon  said,  ' '  has  talents 
and  means  :  he  is  old  and  infirm  ;  and  will  not,  I  think, 
choose  to  give  a  bad  name  to  his  reign.  If  he  is  wise, 
he  will  occupy  my  bed,  and  only  change  the  sheets.  He 
must  treat  the  army  well,  and  take  care  not  to  look  back 
on  the  past,  or  his  time  will  be  brief.  For  you,  gentle- 
men, I  am  no  longer  to  be  with  you  ; — you  have  another 
government;  and  it  will  become  you  to  attach  yourselves  to 
it  frankly,  and  serve  it  faithfully  as  you  have  served  me." 

As  he  passed  along  he  beheld  all  that  now  remained  of 
the  most  brilliant  and  numerous  courts  in  Kurope,  reduced 
to  about  sixteen  individuals,  who  thus  waited  to  manifest 
their  regard  and  respect  for  the  fallen  Emperor.  Junot, 
had  died  the  year  before,  and  Caulaincourt  and  General 
Flahault  were  absent  on  missions.  Napoleon  shook 
hands  with  them  all  ;  then  hastily  passing  the  range  of 
carriages,  he  advanced  towards  the  relics  of  the  Imperial 


'v,^       \  Z 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  411 

Guard  which  he  had  desired  to  be  drawn  up  in  the  court- 
yard of  the  castle.  He  advanced  to  them  on  horseback 
and  tears  dropped  from  his  eyes  as  he  dismounted  in 
their  midst.  "Soldiers  of  the  Old  Guard,"  said  he, 
"I  bid  you  farewell!  During  twenty  years  you  have 
been  my  constant  companions  in  the  path  of  honor  and 
glory.  In  our  last  disasters,  as  well  as  in  the  days 
of  our  prosperity,  you  invariably  proved  yourselves 
models  of  courage  and  fidelity.  With  such  men  as  you, 
our  cause  could  not  have  been  lost ;  but  a  protracted 
civil  war  would  have  ensued,  and  the  miseries  of  France 
would  thereby  have  been  augmented.  I  have,  therefore, 
sacrificed  all  our  interests  to  those  of  the  country.  I  depart : 
you,  my  friends,  will  continue  to  serve  France,  whose 
happiness  has  ever  been  the  only  object  of  my  thoughts, 
and  still  will  be  the  sole  object  of  my  wishes.  Do  not 
deplore  my  fate.  If  I  consent  to  live,  it  is  that  I  may 
still  contribute  to  your  glory.  I  will  record  the  great 
achievements  we  have  performed  together.  Farewell,  my 
comrades  !  I  should  wish  to  press  you  all  to  my  bosom. 
Let  me  at  least  embrace  your  standard." 

At  these  words,  General  Petit  took  the  eagle  and  came 
forward.  Napoleon  received  the  general  in  his  arms,  and 
kissed  the  flag.  The  silence  of  this  affecting  scene  was 
only  interrupted  by  the  occasional  sobs  of  the  soldiers. 
Having  kissed  the  flag.  Napoleon  said  with  great  emotion, 
'  *  Farewell  once  more  my  old  comrades  !  Let  this  kiss  be 
impressed  on  all  your  hearts  !" 

On  this  occasion  the  English  commissioner  who  stood 
near  him,  and  had  previously  been  his  inveterate  enemy, 
was  so  deeply  moved  that  he  was  affected  in  the  same 
degree  as  Napoleon's  attendants.  When  leaving  Napoleon 

27 


412  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

called  for  Rustaii,  his  Mameluke  servant,  but  the  latter  had 
concealed  himself,  though  on  the  preceding  day  he  had 
received  from  his  master,  at  Fontainebleau,  a  present  of 
30,000  francs  to  provide  for  his  wife  and  family  during  his 
absence.  The  Emperor,  in  speaking  afterwards  of  this 
man  who  nightly  slept  across  his  doorway,  said,  "  I  am 
by  no  means  astonished  at  his  conduct,  as  he  was  imbued 
with  the  sentiments  of  a  slave  ;  and,  finding  me  no  longer 
master,  he  imagined  his  services  might  be  dispensed 
with." 

Napoleon  now  hurried  through  the  group  that  sur- 
rounded him — stepped  into  his  carriage,  and  instantly 
drove  off.     The  carriages  took  the  road  to  I^yons. 

Four  commissioners,  one  each  from  the  great  Allied 
Powers,  Austria,  Russia,  Prussia  and  England,  accom- 
panied him  on  his  journey.  He  was  attended  by  the 
ever  faithful  Bertrand,  Grand  Master  of  the  Palace,  and 
some  other  attached  friends  and  servants.  While  four- 
teen carriages  were  conveying  him  and  his  immediate 
suite  towards  Elba,  700  infantry  and  about  150  cavalry  of 
the  Imperial  Guard, — all  picked  men  and  volunteers, — 
marched  in  the  same  direction  to  take  on  them  the 
military  duties  of  the  exiled  court. 

Not  far  from  I^yons  Napoleon  met  Augereau,  general- 
in-chief  of  the  Army  of  the  East,  whose  conduct  during 
the  late  campaign  had  been  that  of  a  traitor.  When 
Augereau  had  taken  his  leave  from  his  ex-chief  one  of 
the  commissioners  ventured  to  express  surprise  that 
Napoleon  should  have  treated  him  with  such  a  show  of 
affection.     ' '  Why  should  I  not  ?"  he  asked. 

"Your  Majesty  is  perhaps  unacquainted  with  his  con- 
duct. Sire,  he  entered  into  an  understanding  with  us 
several  weeks  ago!" 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  413 

The  Kmperor  afterwards  confirmed  this  anecdote, 
adding  :  ' '  The  conqueror  of  Castiglione  might  have  left 
behind  him  a  name  dear  to  his  country  ;  but  France  will 
execrate  the  memory  of  the  traitor  of  I^yons." 

During  the  early  part  of  his  progress  the  Exile  was 
received  respectfully  by  the  civil  functionaries  of  the 
different  towns  and  departments,  and  many  tokens  of 
sympathy  on  the  part  of  the  people  were  expressed.  As 
he  increased  the  distance  between  himself  and  his  capital, 
and  was  carried  into  provinces  wherein  his  name  had 
never  been  extremely  popular,  he  was  once  or  twice  sub- 
jected to  personal  insult,  and  danger  of  violence,  when  the 
horses  were  changing.  At  Lyons,  an  old  woman  in  mourn- 
ing, and  with  a  countenance  full  of  enthusiasm,  rushed 
forward  to  the  door  of  the  carriage.  ' '  Sire ' '  said  she, 
with  an  air  of  solemnity,  ' '  may  the  blessing  of  heaven 
attend  your  endeavor  to  make  yourself  happy.  They 
tear  you  from  us  ;  but  our  hearts  are  with  you,  whereso- 
ever you  go. ' ' 

The  Austrian  commissioner,  quite  disconcerted,  said  to 
his  companion,  "  Let  us  go  ;  I  have  no  patience  with  this 
mad  woman  !" 

At  length  Napoleon  disguised  himself  and  sometimes 
appearing  in  an  Austrian  uniform,  at  others  riding  on 
before  the  carriages  in  the  garb  of  a  courier,  reached  in 
safety  the  place  of  embarkation.  A  French  vessel  had 
been  sent  round  from  Toulon  to  Cannes,  for  the  purpose 
of  conveying  him  to  Elba  ;  but  there  happened  to  be  an 
English  frigate  also  in  the  roads  and  he  preferred  sailing 
under  any  flag  rather  than  the  Bourbon.  The  voyage  to 
Elba  was  uneventful.  Napoleon  succeeded  in  making  a 
favorable  impression  on  the  English  crew  and  when,  on 


414  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

finally  leaving  the  '  'Undaunted, ' '  he  caused  some  two  hun- 
dred  napoleons  ($800)  to  be  distributed  among  the  sailors, 
the  boatswain  undertook  to  return  thanks  in  the  name  of 
the  crew  by  '  *  wishing  him  a  long  X\iQ.—and  better  luck  next 
time!' '     As  he  left  the  vessel  a  royal  salute  was  fired. 

The  Kmperor  of  the  little  island  of  Elba  came  in  view 
of  his  new  dominions  on  the  afternoon  of  May  4th,  18 14, 
and  went  ashore  in  disguise  the  same  evening,  in  order  to 
ascertain  for  himself  whether  the  feelings  of  the  Klbans 
were  favorable  or  otherwise.  He  found  the  people  con- 
sidered his  residence  as  likely  to  increase  in  every  way  the 
importance  and  prosperity  of  their  island,  and  returned  on 
board  the  ship  ;  at  noon  the  day  following  he  made  his 
public  entry  into  the  town  of  Porto-Ferrajo  amidst  many 
popular  demonstrations  of  welcome  and  respect.  The 
English  and  Austrian  commissioners  landed  with  him, 
those  from  Russia  and  Prussia  having  departed  at  the 
coast  of  Provence.  When  the  Exile  climbed  to  the  hill 
above  Ferrajo,  and  looked  down  upon  the  whole  of  his 
territory,  as  upon  a  map,  he  remarked  to  Sir  Neil  Camp- 
bell, the  English  commissioner,  "  It  must  be  confessed 
that  my  island  is  very  small." 

The  island,  however,  mountainous  and  rocky,  for  the 
most  part  barren,  and  of  a  circumference  not  ex- 
exceeding  sixty  miles,  was  his.  He  forthwith  de- 
voted to  it  the  same  anxious  care  and  industry  that 
had  sufficed  for  the  whole  affairs  of  France,  and  a  large 
portion  of  Europe  besides.  In  less  than  three  weeks 
he  had  thorougly  acquainted  himself  with  its  history, 
resources  and  the  character  of  its  people,  had  explored 
every  corner  of  the  island  "and  projected  more  improve- 
ments of  all  sorts"  according  to  one  historian,    "than 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  415 

would  have  occupied  a  life-time  to  complete."  He  even 
extended  his  ' '  Empire ' '  by  sending  some  soldiers  to  take 
possession  of  a  small  adjacent  islet,  hitherto  unoccupied 
for  fear  of  Corsairs.  He  established  residences  in  four 
different  corners  of  Elba  and  was  continually  in  motion 
from  one  to  the  other.  All  the  etiquette  of  the 
Tuilerieswas  adhered  to  as  far  as  possible,  and  Napoleon's 
eight  or  nine  hundred  veterans  were  reviewed  as  frequently 
and  formally  as  if  they  had  been  the  army  of  Austerlitz 
or  Friedland,  and  over  which  hung  the  flag  of  Elba 
which  the  Emperor  had  adopted,  and  which  was  that  of 
the  island, — white,  striped  with  purple  and  studded  with 
stars.  Sometime  later  he  adopted  a  new  flag  as  King  of 
Elba  ;  silver  with  a  red  band,  the  latter  having  bees  of 
gold  on  it.  The  Emperor  wore  the  uniform  of  the 
Colonel  of  the  Horse  Chasseurs  of  the  Guard.  He  had 
substituted  on  his  chapeau  the  red  and  white  cockade  of 
the  island  for  the  tri-colored  cockade.  His  presence  gave 
a  new  stimulus  to  the  trade  and  industry  of  the  island 
and  the  port  of  Ferrajo  was  crowded  with  vessels  from 
the  opposite  coast  of  Italy. 

Napoleon  received  no  money  whatever  from  the 
Bourbon  court,  his  pension  having  been  entirely  forgotten 
by  his  successors  at  the  capital.  His  complaints  on  this 
head  were  not  even  considered,  and  the  exchequer  of  the 
Exile  being  rapidly  depleted  by  his  generous  expenditures, 
he  soon  became  in  need  of  many  necessities.  These  new 
troubles  imbittered  the  spirit  of  the  fallen  Chief  and  but 
for  the  course  of  events  at  Paris,  of  which  he  was  kept 
fully  advised,  would  have  become  overpowered  by  a  list- 
lessness  which  at  one  time  affected  him  seriously. 


4i6  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

While  on  the  island  the  Emperor  observed  that  his  new 
flag  had  become  the  first  in  the  Mediterranean.  It  was 
held  sacred,  he  said,  by  the  Algerians,  who  usually  made 
presents  to  the  Elban  captains,  telling  them  they  were 
paying  the  debt  of  Moscow.  Some  Algerian  ships  once 
anchoring  off  the  island,  great  alarm  was  caused  among 
the  inhabitants,  who  questioned  the  pirates,  and  asked 
them  plainly  whether  they  came  with  any  hostile  views. 
"Against  the  Great  Napoleon;"  they  replied,  "Oh! 
never;  we  do  not  wage  war  on  God  !" 

I^ouis  XVIII.  had  made  his  public  entry  into  Paris  on 
the  2 1  St  of  April.  He  was  advanced  in  years,  gross  and 
infirm  in  person,  yet  he  was,  perhaps,  less  unpopular  than 
the  rest  of  his  family  ;  but  it  was  his  fatal  misfortune  to 
continue  to  increase  day  by  day  the  bitterness  of  those  who 
had  never  been  sincerely  his  friends.  The  King  had  been 
called  to  the  throne  by  the  French  Senate  in  a  decree 
which  provided  that  he  should  preserve  the  political 
system  ' '  which  Napoleon  had  violated  ' ' ,  and  which 
declared  the  legislative  constitution  as  composed  of  a 
hereditary  sovereign  and  two  houses  of  assembly  ;  to  be 
fixed  and  unchangeable.  lyouis,  however,  though  he 
proceeded  to  France  on  this  invitation,  did  not  hesitate  to 
date  his  first  act  in  the  twentieth  year  of  his  reign.  The 
Senate  saw  in  such  assumptions  the  traces  of  those  old 
doctrines  of  ' '  the  divine  right  of  kings, ' '  of  which  I^ouis 
was  a  shining  example,  and  which  they,  who  though 
not  originally  of  his  party,  had  consented  to  his  recall — 
although  they  had  through  life  abhorred  and  combatted 
such  principles  ;  and  they  asked  themselves,  why,  if  all 
their  privileges  were  but  the  gifts  of  theKing,  they  might 
not,  on  any  tempting  opportunity,  be  withdrawn  by  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  417 

same  authority.  They,  whose  titles  had  all  been  -won 
since  the  death  of  L^ouis  XVI. ,  were  startled  when  they 
found,  that,  according  to  the  royal  doctrine,  there  had 
been  no  legitimate  government  all  that  time  in  France! 

The  first  tumult  of  the  Restoration  being  over,  and  the 
troops  of  the  Allies  withdrawn,  things  began  to  so  shape 
themselves  that  there  were  many  elements  of  discontent 
amongst  all  classes,  one  of  the  most  powerful  of  which 
was  in  the  army  itself.  The  Allies  had  restored,  without 
stipulation,  the  whole  of  the  prisoners  who  had  fallen 
into  their  hands  during  the  war.  At  least  150,000  veteran 
soldiers,  all  of  whom  had  fought  under  Napoleon  on 
many  battlefields,  were  thus  poured  into  France  ere  lyouis 
was  well  seated  on  the  throne ;  men,  too,  who  had 
witnessed  nothing  of  the  last  disastrous  campaigns  ;  who 
had  sustained  themselves  in  their  e:jiile  by  recounting  their 
earlier  victories ;  and  who  now,  returning  fresh  and 
vigorous  to  their  native  soil,  had  but  one  answer  to  every 
tale  of  misfortune  which  met  them  :  "  These  things 
could  never  have  happened  had  we  been  here  ! ' ' 

The  Empress  Marie  was  at  Blois  at  the  time  Napoleon 
signed  his  abdication,  and  Savary  has  described  her  grief  as 
very  great,  but  her  own  reverses  were  sufiiciently  severe  to 
account  for  this,  without  any  strong  feeling  for  Napoleon. 
By  direction  of  Napoleon  she  applied  for  protection  to  the 
Emperor  of  Austria  and  went  to  Rambouillet  to  meet  him, 
where  he  explained  to  her  that  she  was  to  be  separated 
from  her  husband  "  for  a  time. ' '  The  Emperor  Alexander 
visited  her  also,  very  much  against  her  will,  and  a  few 
days  afterwards  she  departed  for  Vienna.  Alexander 
also  visited  Josephine, and  found  her  distress  at  Napoleon's 
abdication  very  great.  She  appears  never  to  have  recovered 


4i8  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

from  the  shock  for  she  survived  it  only  about  six  weeks. 
She  died  on  the  29th  of  May,  1814,  at  Malmaison,  and  was 
buried  in  the  church  of  Ruel.  Her  funeral  was  attended 
by  several  generals  of  the  allied  armies,  and  marshals  and 
generals  of  France.  The  body  was^  afterwards  placed  in 
a  magnificent  tomb  of  white  marble,  erected  by  her  two 
children,  and  bearing  the  simple  inscription  :  "Eugene 
and  Hortense  to  Josephine. ' ' 

Napoleon's  mother,  and  sister  Pauline,  as  well  as  a 
number  of  ancient  and  attached  servants  of  his  civil 
government  and  his  army,  visited  him  during  the 
summer  of  18 14.  Not  the  least  of  these  was  Pauline, 
who  made  repeated  voyages  to  Italy,  and  returned  again 
as  mysteriously.  In  the  circles  of  Ferrajo  new  and  busy 
faces  now  appeared  and  disappeared — no  one  knew  whence 
they  had  come  or  whither  they  went  and  an  air  of  bustle 
and  mystery  pervaded  the  atmosphere  of  the  place.  The 
Emperor  continued  to  review  his  handful  of  veteran 
soldiers  with  as  much  pride  as  if  they  had  been  the 
innumerable  hosts  he  had  led  to  victory  on  the  Continent, 
and  seemed  to  be  fairly  well  contented  with  his  situation 
notwithstanding  he  had  fallen  from  an  eminence  that  had 
been  reached  by  no  other  man  in  modern  times.  The 
only  notable  change  observed  in  his  habits  was  that  he 
became  grave,  and  reserved,  and  seemed  no  longer  to  take 
any  interest  in  the  improvements  he  had  effected  on  the 
island. 

It  was  evident,  however,  that  something  was  preparing  ; 
but  the  commissioners  who  watched  over  Napoleon  were 
unable  to  fathom  it.  They  repeatedly  remarked  C4i  the 
absurdity  of  the  Allied  Powers  in  withholding  his  pension, 
which  they  had  solemnly  pledged  should  be  paid  every 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  419 

quarter,  thereby  tempting  him  to  release  himself;  but 
their  reports  were  left  unnoticed  by  those  in  whose  hands 
they  fell.  This  obliged  the  Emperor  to  sell  every  luxury 
and  comfort  around  him  to  raise  the  means  of  paying 
his  current  expenses.  Then  it  was  that  he  began  to 
forecast  the  future  and  to  contemplate  a  bold  stroke,  not 
only  for  liberty,  but  to  regain  his  lost  throne  before  he 
could  be  transported  to  St.  Helena  which  he  had  been 
informed  privately  was  being  discussed  at  Vienna. 

In  this  he  was  aided  by  a  nation  which  was  far  from 
satisfied  with  the  man  whose  possession  of  the  royal 
sceptre  had  only  been  made  possible  by  the  force  of 
foreign  armies,  and  it  was  apparent  to  nearly  everyone 
that  lyouis  XVIII.  could  not  long  rule  France  tranquilly, 
even  though  Napoleon  did  not  return. 

Kre  autumn  closed  Napoleon  granted  furloughs  on  var- 
ious pretexts  to  about  two  hundred  of  his  Guard,  and  these 
at  once  scattered  themselves  over  France  singing  his 
praises.  It  now  began  to  be  whispered  that  the  Exile  would 
return  to  the  soil  of  France  in  the  spring  of  the  coming  year. 
Among  the  soldiery  and  elsewhere  he  was  toasted  under 
the  sobriquet  of  ' '  Corporal  Violet, ' '  a  flower  or  a  ribbon 
of  its  color  being  the  symbol  of  rebellion,  and  worn  openly 
in  the  sight  of  the  unsuspecting  Bourbons.  It  was  by  this 
secret  symbol  that  Napoleon's  friends  knew  each  other. 
Rings  of  a  violet  color  with  the  device,  ' '  It  will  re-appear 
in  the  spring, ' '  became  fashionable  ;  women  wore  violet- 
colored  silks  and  the  men  displayed  watch-strings  of  the 
same  color  ;  while  the  mutual  question  when  these  friends 
met  was  generally,  "Are  you  fond  of  the  violet?"  to 
which  the  answer  of  a  confederate  was,  "  Ah  !  well." 


420  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  representatives  of  all  the  Kuropean  princes  had 
met  in  Vienna  to  settle  finally  a  number  of  questions  left 
undecided  at  the  termination  of  the  war,  including  a 
division  of  the  '  'spoils. ' '  Talleyrand  was  there  for  France, 
Wellington  for  England,  Metternich  for  Austria.  On  the 
nth  of  March  these  representatives,  who  were  then 
discussing  among  other  things  "how  to  get  rid  of  the 
Man  of  Elba, ' '  were  thrown  into  a  panic  by  the  news  that 
Napoleon  Bonaparte  had  reared  his  standard  once  more 
in  France  and  was  marching  on  Paris  ! 

Of  the  state  of  affairs  in  France  Napoleon  had  been 
fully  advised  as  well  as  of  the  sessions  of  the  ministers  at 
the  Congress  of  Vienna,  who  had  suggested  that,  as  the 
French  government  would  not  honestly  pay  his  pension, 
he  should  be  taken  to  some  place  of  greater  safety,  and 
St.  Helena  was  even  mentioned  at  this  time.  This 
determined  Napoleon  to  act,  especially  as  he  was  fully 
convinced  that  he  had  a  good  chance  of  being  well 
received  by  the  twenty  or  thirty  millions  of  people  who 
were  being  treated  with  contempt  by  Ivouis  XVIII.  and 
his  followers.  The  arrival  also  of  M.  Fleury  de  Chaboulon, 
with  secret  messages  from  Maret,  (Duke  of  Bassano)  then 
at  Paris,  had  much  to  do  with  the  hasty  determination  of 
Napoleon  to  quit  Elba  at  the  earliest  moment  possible. 
Reserved  as  the  Exile  was  with  others  he  told  his  mother 
of  his  plans.  ' '  I  cannot  die  on  this  island, ' '  he  said  to 
her,  '  'and  terminate  my  career  in  a  repose  unworthy  of 
me.  Besides,  want  of  money  would  soon  leave  me  here 
alone,  exposed  to  the  attack  of  my  enemies. ' '  His  mother 
reflected  for  some  time  in  silence  and  then  replied,  ' '  Go, 
my  son — go  and  fulfill  your  destiny !  You  will  fail 
perhaps,  and  your  failure  will  soon  be  followed  by  your 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  421 

death.  But  I  see  with  sorrow  that  you  cannot  remain 
here  ;  let  us  hope  that  God,  who  has  protected  you  amid 
so  many  battles,  will  save  j^ou  once  more  !" 

Bertrand,  who  was  sharing  Napoleon's  exile,  was  now 
informed  of  the  Emperor's  decision  as  was  also  Druot 
who  at  once  commenced  secret  preparations  for  the 
approaching  expedition.  Eleven  hundred  soldiers  were 
collected  of  whom  800  belonged  to  the  Guard  and  300 
to  the  35th  light  infantry  that  Napoleon  had  found  in 
the  island.  None  of  these  men  had  any  idea  of  the 
projected  enterprise.  Colonel  Campbell,  who  was  watching 
proceedings  in  Elba  for  the  English,  had  left  Ferrajo 
and  gone  to  Eeghorn.  There  remained  then  only  the 
cruisers  that  were  easily  deceived  or  avoided.  In  order 
to  keep  his  preparations  a  profound  secret,  Napoleon, 
two  days  before  embarking,  laid  an  embargo  on  the 
vessels  in  the  harbors  of  Elba,  and  cut  off  all  communication 
with  the  sea.  He  then  ordered  his  ordnance  oflicer, 
Vantini,  to  seize  one  of  the  large  vessels  lying  in  the  port, 
which,  with  the  "  Inconstant"  of  twenty-six  cannon, 
and  six  other  smaller  craft,  making  in  all  seven  vessels,  he 
secured  the  means  of  embarking  his  eleven  hundred  men 
and  four  pieces  of  field  artillery.  He  had  decided  to 
commence  his  romantic  enterprise  on  the  26th  of  February, 
18 1 5.  On  this  day  he  allowed  his  soldiers  to  remain  at 
their  usual  employment  until  the  middle  of  the  day. 
They  were  suddenly  summoned  in  the  afternoon  and  after 
being  lightly  fed,  were  assembled  with  arms  and  baggage 
on  the  pier  where  they  were  informed  that  they  were  to 
go  on  board  the  vessels.  The  inhabitants  of  the  island 
regretted  the  Exile's  departure  as  they  feared  its  prosperity 
would  go  with  him.     Napoleon's  staff  and  about  three 


422  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

hundred  men  embarked  on  board  the  "Inconstant,"  the 
others  being  distributed  in  the  other  vessels  of  the  flotilla. 

The  discharge  of  a  single  cannon  at  about  7  o'clock  in 
the  evening  was  the  signal  agreed  upon  for  weighing 
anchor,  and  when  the  sails  were  unfurled,  and  the  little 
fleet  steered  its  course,  reiterated  cries  of  "Paris  or 
death!"  were  heard  from  the  exultant  troops.  The 
Emperor  had  said  to  them,  "  Grenadiers  !  we  are  going 
to  France  ;  we  must  march  to  Paris  !" 

The  English  commissioner  immediately  attempted  to 
get  Napoleon's  mother  and  sister  to  betray  his  destination 
and  being  unsuccessful, at  once  pursued  ;  but  was  unable  to 
overtake  his  charge.  On  the  voyage  a  French  ship-of- 
war  crossed  his  path  ;  but  the  Emperor  made  all  his 
soldiers  and  those  persons  who  could  be  suspected  descend 
under  the  deck,  and  the  steersman  of  the  "  Inconstant," 
who  happened  to  be  well  acquainted  with  the  commanding 
officer,  had  received  and  answered  the  usual  challenge 
without  exciting  any  suspicion.  In  reply  to  the  question 
of  how  they  left  the  Emperor  at  Elba,  Napoleon  himself 
made  answer    by  signal   that,     "  He  was  very   well." 

During  the  voyage  he  dictated  two  proclamations  which 
were  copied  by  almost  all  his  soldiers  and  attendants  who 
could  write.  These  were  to  be  duplicated  on  landing  and 
distributed  throughout  France. 

The  Emperor,having  left  Elba  on  the  26th  of  February, 
arrived  off  Cannes,  near  Frejus,  on  March  ist, — the  very 
spot  he  had  touched  when  he  arrived  from  Egypt,  and 
from  which  he  had  embarked  ten  months  before. 
He  landed  without  opposition,  and  his  handful  of 
men, — 500  grenadiers  of  the  Guard,  200  dragoons  and 
100  Polish  lancers,  these  last  without  horses  and  carrying 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  423 

their  saddles  on  their  backs,  were  reviewed  and  imme- 
diately began  their  march  on  Paris.  He  bivouacked 
that  night  in  a  plantation  of  olives,  with  all  his  men 
about  him.  As  soon  as  the  moon  rose,  the  reveille 
sounded.  A  laborer  who  was  going  thus  early  to  work 
in  the  fields  recognized  the  Emperor's  person,  and  uttering 
a  cry  of  joy,  said  he  had  served  in  the  Army  of  Italy  and 
would  join  the  ranks.  ' '  Here  is  a  reinforcement  already !" 
said  Napoleon  to  Bertrand,  and  after  spending  the  balance 
of  the  evening  in  chatting  familiarly  with  his  Guard,  the 
march  towards  Paris  recommenced. 

Early  in  the  morning  they  passed  through  the  town  of 
Grasse,  and  halted  on  the  height  beyond  it.  There  the 
whole  population  of  the  place  surrounded  them,  some 
cheering  and  many  others  maintaining  perfect  silence; 
but  none  offered  any  show  of  opposition.  The  peasants 
blessed  his  return  ;  but,  on  viewing  his  little  band  looked 
upon  him  with  pity,  and  entertained  no  hope  of  his  ultimate 
success.  The  roads  were  so  bad  that  the  pieces  of  cannon 
which  they  had  with  them  were  abandoned  in  the  course 
of  the  day,  but  they  marched  full  twenty  leagues  ere  they 
halted  for  the  night  at  Seranon.  "Before  arriving  at  this 
stopping  place,"  says  Thiers,  "the  Emperor  stopped  a  few 
minutes  in  a  hut,  occupied  by  an  old  woman  and  some  cows. 
Whilst  he  warmed  himself  before  a  brushwood  fire  he 
entered  into  conversation  with  the  old  country-woman, 
who  little  imagined  what  guests  she  entertained  beneath 
her  humble  thatch,  and  was  asked,  '  What  news  from 
Paris?'  She  seemed  surprised  at  a  question  to  which 
she  was  little  accustomed,  and  replied  very  naturally  that 
she  knew  of  none.  '  You  don't  know  what  the  King  is 
doing  tlien  ?'  said  Napoleon. 


424  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

"  'The  King?'  answered  the  old  woman,  still  more 
astonished,  '  the  King  !  You  mean  the  Kmperor — he  is 
2\^N2.ys yonder.'  " 

This  dweller  in  the  Alpine  country  was  wholly  ignorant 
that  Napoleon  had  been  hurled  from  his  throne  and 
replaced  by  Louis  XVIII.  All  present  were  struck  with 
astonishment  at  witnessing  this  extraordinary  ignorance. 
Napoleon,  who  was  not  less  surprised  than  the  others, 
looked  at  Druot  and  said,  "Well,  Druot,  of  what  use  is 
it  to  disturb  the  world  to  fill  it  with  one's  name  ?" 

On  the  5th  of  March  the  Emperor  reached  Gap,  where 
he  published  his  first  proclamations, — one  to  the  army 
and  another  to  the  French  people.  The  former  said: 
"Soldiers  !  We  have  not  been  conquered.  Two  men, 
raised  from  our  ranks,  (Marmont  and  Augereau)  have 
betrayed  our  laurels,  their  country,  their  prince,  their 
benefactor.  In  my  exile  I  have  heard  your  voice.  I 
have  arrived  once  more  among  you,  despite  all  obstacles, 
and  in  all  perils.  We  ought  to  forget  that  we  have  been 
the  masters  of  the  world  ;  but  we  ought  never  to  suffer 
foreign  interference  in  our  affairs.  Who  dares  pretend  to 
be  master  over  us  ?  Take  again  the  eagles  which  you 
followed  at  Ulm,  at  Austerlitz,  at  Jena,  at  Kylau,  at 
Friedland,  atTudela,  atKckmuhl,  atEssling,  at  Smolensk, 
at  Moskowa,  at  Lutzen,  at  Wurtchen,  at  Montmirail. 
Soldiers  !  come  and  range  yourselves  under  the  banners 
of  your  old  chief.  Victory  shall  march  at  the  charging 
step.  The  eagle,  with  the  national  colors,  shall  fly  from 
steeple  to  steeple,  till  it  reaches  the  towers  of  Notre  Dame  ! 
In  your  old  age,  surrounded  and  honored  by  your  fellow- 
citizens,  you  shall  be  heard  with  respect  when  you  recount 
your  high  deeds.     You  shall  then  say  with  pride,  '  I  also 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  425 

was  one  of  that  great  army  which  entered  twice  within 
the  walls  of  Vienna,  which  took  Rome,  and  Berlin,  and 
Madrid  and  Moscow,  and  which  delivered  Paris  from  the 
stain  printed  on  it  by  domestic  treason,  and  the  occupa- 
tion of  strangers. '  ' ' 

Between  Mure  and  Vizele,  Cambronne,  who  commanded 
Napoleon's  advanced  guard  of  forty  grenadiers,  met 
suddenly  a  battalion  sent  forward  from  Grenoble  to  arrest 
the  march.  The  colonel  refused  to  parley  with  Cambronne 
and  either  party  halted  until  the  Emperor  came  up. 
Napoleon  did  not  hesitate  for  a  moment  but  dismounted 
and  advanced  alone  ;  some  paces  behind  him  came  about 
a  hundred  of  his  Guard,  with  their  arms  reversed.  There 
was  perfect  silence  on  all  sides  until  the  returned  Exile 
was  within  a  few  yards  of  the  men.  He  then  halted,  threw 
open  his  surtout,  so  as  to  show  the  star  of  the  Legion  of 
Honor,  and  exclaimed,  ' '  If  there  be  among  you  a  soldier 
who  desires  to  kill  his  general — his  Emperor — let  him  do 
it  now.     Here  I  am  !  " 

The  old  cry  of  ' '  Vive  1'  Empereur  ! ' '  burst  instantly 
from  every  lip.  Napoleon  threw  himself  among  them,  and 
taking  a  veteran  private,  covered  with  scars  and  medals, 
by  his  beard,  said,  "Speak  honestly,  old  Moustache, 
couldst  thou  have  had  the  heart  to  kill  thy  Emperor  ?  ' ' 

The  old  soldier  dropped  his  ramrod  into  his  piece  to 
show  that  it  was  not  loaded,  and  answered,  "  Judge  if  I 
could  have  done  thee  much  harm — all  the  rest  are  the 
sameV  The  soldiers  had  now  broken  their  ranks  and 
were  surrounding  the  Emperor,  kissing  his  hands  and 
calling  him  their  general,  their  Emperor,  their  father. 
The  commander  of  the  5th  battalion,  thus  abandoned  by 
his  soldiers,  knew  not  what  to  do,  when  Napoleon,  freeing 


426  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

himself  from  the  throng  stepped  forward,  asked  his  name, 
his  grade,  his  services  and  then  added  :  "  My  friend,  who 
made  you  chief  of  battalion?"  "  You,  Sire,"  "Who  made 
you  captain?"  "You,  Sire,"  "And  would  you  fire  on 
me  ?'  ' '  Yes' '  replied  the  brave  man,  * '  in  the  performance 
of  my  duty."  He  then  gave  his  sword  to  Napoleon, 
who  took  it,  pressed  his  hand  and  in  a  voice  that  clearly 
indicated  that  the  weapon  would  be  restored  at  that  point, 
said,  "  Meet  me  at  Grenoble."  Turning  to  Bertrand  and 
Druot  the  Emperor  then  said:  "All  is  decided:  within  ten 
days  we  shall  be  in  the  Tuileries  !  " 

Napoleon  now  gave  the  word,  and  the  old  adherents 
and  the  new  began  the  march  together  towards  Grenoble. 
Ere  they  reached  that  town  Colonel  I^abedoyere,  an 
officer  of  noble  family,  and  who  had  been  promoted  by 
Eouis  XVIII.,  appeared  on  the  road  before  them  at  the 
head  of  his  regiment,  the  seventh  of  the  line.  These 
men  and  the  Emperor's  little  column,  on  coming  within 
view  of  each  other,  rushed  simultaneously  from  their 
ranks  and  embraced  with  mutual  shouts  of,  ' '  I^ive  Napo- 
leon !  Ivive  the  Guard  !  I^ive  the  Seventh  !  " 

I^abedoyere  now  produced  an  eagle,  which  he  had  kept 
concealed  about  his  person,  and  broke  open  a  drum  which 
was  found  to  be  filled  with  tri-colored  cockades.  As  these 
aiicient  ensigns  were  exhibited  by  the  first  ofi&cer  of 
superior  rank  who  voluntarily  espoused  the  side  of  the 
returned  Exile,  renewed  enthusiasm  was  apparent  on  all 
sides.  Napoleon  then  questioned  young  Eabedoyere 
concerning  the  state  of  Paris,  and  France  in  general. 
That  gallant  officer  answered  with  much  frankness:  *  'Sire, 
the  French  will  do  everything  for  your  Majesty  ;  but  your 
Majesty  must  do  everything  in  return  for  them  ;  no  more 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  427 

ambition,  no  more  despotism  ;  we  are  determined  to  be  free 
'and  happy.  It  is  necessary,  Sire,  to  renounce  that  system 
of  conquest  and  power  which  occasioned  the  misfortune 
of  France  and  yourself." 

Napoleon  replied,  ' '  I  know  that.  I  return  to  revive 
the  glory  of  France,  to  establish  the  principles  of  the 
Revolution  and  to  secure  to  the  nation  a  degree  of  liberty 
which,  though  difficult  at  the  commencement  of  my  reign, 
is  now  become  not  only  possible  but  necessary." 

This  act  of  lyabedoyere  was  most  decisive,  for  in  spite 
of  all  the  efforts  of  General  Marchand,  commandant  at 
Grenoble,  the  whole  of  that  garrison,  when  he  approached 
the  walls,  shouted  "  Vive  1'  Bmpereur  !"  Though  wel- 
coming Napoleon  with  their  voices  and  shaking  hands 
with  his  followers  through  the  wicket  below,  they  would 
not  so  far  disobey  the  governor  as  to  throw  open  the  gates. 
Neither  could  any  argument  prevail  upon  them  to  open 
fire  on  the  advancing  party  and  in  the  very  teeth  of  all 
their  batteries  Napoleon  calmly  planted  a  howitzer  or  two 
and  blew  the  gates  open.  Then,  as  if  the  spell  of  disci- 
pline was  at  once  dissolved,  the  garrison  broke  from  their 
lines  and  dragging  the  Kmperor  from  his  horse,  bore  him 
aloft  on  their  shoulders  towards  the  principal  inn  of  the 
place,  amidst  the  clamors  of  enthusiastic  and  delirious 
joy.  The  inhabitants  of  Grenoble,  being  unable  to 
bring  him  the  keys  of  the  city,  brought  him  with  accla- 
mations, the  shattered  gates  instead,  exclaiming  :  "  For 
want  of  the  keys  of  the  good  city  of  Grenoble,  here  are 
the  gates  for  you!"  Next  morning  he  reviewed  his 
troops,  now  amounting  to  about  7,000,  and  on  the  9th 
recommenced  his  march. 

28 


428  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

On  the  loth  of  March  Napoleon  came  within  sight  of 
I^yons  and  was  informed  that  Marshal  Macdonald  had 
arrived  to  take  the  command,  had  barricaded  the  bridge 
of  Guillotierre,  and  posted  himself  at  the  head  of  a 
large  force  to  dispute  the  entrance  of  the  town.  Nothing 
daunted  with  this  intelligence,  the  column  moved  on,  and 
at  the  bridge  of  I^yons,  as  at  the  gates  of  Grenoble,  all 
opposition  vanished  when  the  person  of  the  Emperor  was 
recognized  by  the  soldiery.  Macdonald  was  forced  to 
retire  and  Napoleon  entered  the  second  city  of  France  in 
triumph.  Macdonald  would  have  been  taken  prisoner  by 
his  own  troops,  had  not  some  of  them,  more  honorable 
than  the  rest,  insisted  on  his  escape  being  unobstructed. 
He  thereupon  returned  to  Paris  where  he  once  more  hoped 
to  make  a  stand. 

A  guard  of  mounted  citizens  who  had  been  formed  to 
attend  on  the  person  of  Count  d'  Artois,  the  heir  of 
the  Empire,  and  who  had  accompanied  Macdonald,  were 
the  foremost  to  offer  their  services  to  the  Emperor  after  he 
reached  the  hotel ;  but  he  rejected  their  assistance  and 
dismissed  them  with  contempt.  Finding  that  one  of  their 
number  had  followed  the  Prince  until  his  person  was  out 
of  all  danger,  Napoleon  immediately  sent  to  that  indi- 
vidual the  cross  of  the  I^egion  of  Honor. 

Meanwhile,  during  the  week  that  the  Emperor  had 
continued  his  march  Parisward  without  opposition,  the 
newspapers  of  the  capital  were  silent,  and  none  ventured 
to  make  any  allusion  whatever  to  his  successes.  There 
then  appeared  a  royal  decree,  proclaiming  Napoleon 
Bonaparte  "an  outlaw,"  and  convoking,  on  the  instant, 
the  two  Chambers.     Next  day  the  * '  Moniteur ' '  announcf  4 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  429 

that,  surrounded  on  all  hands  by  faithful  garrisons  and  a 
loyal  population,  this  "  outlaw  and  invader  "  was  already 
stripped  of  most  of  his  followers,  was  wandering  in  despair 
among  the  hills,  and  certain  to  be  a  prisoner  within  two 
or  three  days  at  the  utmost!  Louis  received  many 
addresses  full  of  loyalty  and  devotion  from  the  public 
bodies  of  Paris,  from  towns  and  departments,  and,  above 
all,  from  the  marshals,  generals  and  regiments  who  hap- 
pened to  be  near  the  capital.  The  partisans  of  Napoleon 
at  Paris,  however,  were  far  more  active  than  the  roy- 
alists. They  gave  out  everywhere  that,  as  the  procla- 
mation addressed  ' '  To  the  French  people  ' '  from  Gap  had 
stated.  Napoleon  came  back  thoroughly  cured  of  that 
ambition  which  had  armed  Europe  against  his  throne ; 
that  he  considered  his  act  of  abdication  void,  because  the 
Bourbons  had  not  accepted  the  crown  on  the  terms  which 
it  was  offered,  and  had  used  their  authority  in  a  spirit, 
and  for  purposes  at  variance  with  the  feelings  and  the 
interests  of  the  French  people  ;  that  he  was  come  to  be  no 
longer  the  dictator  of  a  military  despotism,  but  the  first 
citizen  of  a  nation  which  he  had  resolved  to  make  the 
freest  of  the  free ;  that  the  royal  government  wished  to 
extinguish  by  degrees  all  memory  of  the  Revolution;  that 
he  was  returning  to  consecrate  once  more  the  principles 
of  liberty  and  equality,  ever  hateful  to  the  eyes  of  the  old 
nobility  of  France,  and  to  secure  the  proprietors  of  for- 
feited estates  against  all  machinations  of  that  dominant 
faction; — in  a  word, that  he  was  fully  sensible  of  the  extent 
of  his  past  errors,  both  of  domestic  administration  and  of 
military  ambition,  and  desirous  of  nothing  but  the  oppor- 
tunity of  devoting,  to  the  true  welfare  of  peaceful  France, 
those  unrivalled  talents  and  energies  which  he  had  been 
rash  enough  to  abuse  in  former  days. 


430  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Napoleon's  friends  declared, too,  and  with  much  show  of 
authority,  that  the  army  was,  high  and  low,  on  the  side  of 
the  Emperor  ;  that  every  detachment  sent  to  intercept 
.  him  would  but  swell  his  force  so  that  nothing  could  pre- 
vent him  from  taking  possession  of  the  Tuileries  ere  a 
fortnight  more  had  passed  over  the  head  of  the  Bourbon 
King. 

Napoleon  remained  at  I^j^ons  from  the  loth  to  the 
1 3th  of  March.  Here  he  lormally  1  esumed  the  functions  of 
civil  government,  published  various  decrees,  one  of  which 
commanded  that  j  ustice  be  administered  everywhere  in  his 
name  after  the  15th,  another  abolishing  the  Chambers  of 
the  Peers  and  the  Deputies  and  summoning-  all  the 
electoral  colleges  to  meet  in  Paris  to  witness  the  corona- 
tion of  Marie  lyouise  and  her  son,  and  settle  definitively 
the  constitution  of  the  State ;  a  third,  ordering  into 
banishment  all  those  whose  names  had  not  been  erased 
from  the  list  of  emigrants  prior  to  the  abdication  of 
Fontainebleau  ;  a  fourth,  depriving  all  strangers  and 
emigrants  of  their  commissions  in  the  army  ;  a  fifth,  abol- 
ishing the  order  of  St.  lyouis,  and  bestowing  all  its  reve- 
nues on  the  I^egion  of  Honor  ;  and  a  sixth  restoring  to 
their  authority  all  magistrates  who  had  been  displaced  by 
the  Bourbon  government. 

These  publications  soon  reached  Paris  and  caused  much 
alarm   among  the  adherents  of  the  King, 

Marshal  Ney  now  received  orders  from  the  Minister  of 
War  to  take  command  of  a  large  body  of  troops  whose 
fidelity  was  considered  sure,  and  who  were  about  to  be 
sent  to  Lons-le-Saunier,to  intercept  and  arrest  the  return- 
ing Kxile  before  he  could  make  further  progress.  Ney 
immediately   rode  to  Paris  from  his  retired  country-seat 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  431 

;and  there,  for  the  first  time,  learned  of  the  disembarkation 
of  Napoleon  from  Klba.  He  is  even  said  to  have  declared 
that  he  would  bring  his  former  chief  to  Paris  in  a  cage, 
like  a  wild  beast,  in  the  course  of  a  week.  On  reaching 
lyOns-le-Saunier  he  received  a  letter  from  Napoleon 
reminding  him  of  their  former  campaigns  and  summoning 
him  to  join  his  standard  as  the  "  bravest  of  the  brave." 
Ney  had  a  secret  interview  with  a  courier  who  brought 
this  letter,  with  one  from  Bertrand.  Generals  I^ecourbe 
and  Bourmont,  by  whom  the  marshal  was  attended,  advised 
him  not  to  oppose  a  torrent  which  was  too  powerful  for 
any  resistance  he  could  bring  against  it.  While  in  this 
state  of  doubt  and  indecision,  sorely  perplexed  as  to  his 
exact  duty,  he  received  intelligence  that  his  vanguard, 
posted  at  Bourg,  had  gone  over  to  Napoleon,  and  that  the 
inhabitants  of  Chalons-sur-Saone  had  seized  the  park  of 
artillery.  All  this  confirming  what  Ney  had  just  been 
told  by  the  courier,  he  exclaimed,  "It  is  impossible  for 
me  to  stop  the  incoming  water  of  the  ocean  with  the  palm 
of  my  hand!"  Accordingly, on  the  following  morning,  he 
published  an  order  of  the  day,  declaring  that  "  the  cause 
of  the  Bourbons  was  lost  forever,  and  that  the  legitimate 
dynasty  which  the  French  nation  had  adopted  was  about 
to  feascend  the  throne."  This  order  was  read  to  the 
troops  and  was  received  by  them  with  rapture  ;  some  of 
the  officers,  however,  remonstrated  and  left  their  com- 
mand. One,  before  he  went  away,  broke  his  sword  in 
two,  and  threw  the  pieces  at  Ney's  feet,  saying,  "It  is 
easier  for  a  man  of  honor  to  break  iron  than  to  infringe 
his  word. ' ' 

Ney  put  his  soldiery  in  motion  forthwith,  and  joined 
the   march  of  the   Emperor   on   the    17th   of  March   at 


432  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Auxerre,  being  received  by  Napoleon  with  open  arms. 
Ney  avowed  later  that  he  had  chosen  the  part  of  Napoleon 
long  ere  he  pledged  his  oath  to  lyouis,  adding  that  the 
greater  number  of  the  marshals  were,  like  himself, 
original  members  of  the  Elban  conspiracy  to  again  place 
him  on  the  throne. 

In  and  about  the  capital  there  still  remained  troops 
sufficient  in  numbers  to  overwhelm  the  advancing  column, 
and  Louis  intrusted  the  command  of  these  battalions  to 
Marshal  Macdonald,  who  proceeded  to  establish  himself 
at  Melun  with  the  King's  army, in  the  hopes  of  being  sup- 
ported by  his  soldiers  in  the  discharge  of  his  commission. 

On  the  19th  Napoleon  slept  once  more  in  the  chateau 
of  Fontainebleau,  and  on  the  morning  of  the  20th  he 
advanced  through  the  forest,  alone,  and  with  the  full 
knowledge  of  Macdonald' s  arrangements.  About  noon 
the  marshal's  troops,  who  had  been  for  some  time  under 
arms  on  an  eminence  beyond  the  wood, perceived  suddenly 
a  single  open  carriage  coming  at  full  speed  towards  them 
from  among  the  trees.  A  handful  of  Polish  horsemen, 
with  their  lances  reversed,  followed  the  equipage.  The 
little  flat  cocked  hat;  the  gray  surtout;  then  the  person  of 
Napoleon  was  recognized.  In  an  instant  the  men  burst 
from  their  ranks,  surrounded  him  with  the  cries  of  ' '  Vive 
r  Empereur  !  "  and  trampled  their  white  cockades  in  the 
dust.  Macdonald  escaped  to  Paris  but  lyOuis  had  not 
awaited  his  last  stand.  He  had  set  off  from  the 
Tuileries  in  the  middle  of  the  preceding  night,  amidst 
the  tears  and  lamentations  of  several  courtiers,  taking  the 
road  to  lyisle.  McDonald  soon  overtook  and  accom- 
panied him  to  the  frontier  of  the  Netherlands,  which  he 
reached  in  safety. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  433 

-'  Napoleon  once  more  entered  Paris  on  the  evening  of 
£lie  20th  of  Marcli.  He  came  preceded  and  followed  by 
the  soldiery  on  horseback,  and  on  whom  alone  he  had 
relied.  At  the  Tuileries  he  was  received  with  every 
possible  demonstration  of  joy  and  was  almost  stifled  by 
the  pressure  of  those  enthusiastic  adherents  who,  the 
moment  he  stopped  in  the  court-yard  of  the  palace, mounted 
him  on  their  shoulders  and  carried  him  in  triumph  up 
the  great  staircase  of  the  palace.  The  Kmperor,  during 
this  dramatic  proceeding,  continued  to  exclaim,  ' '  Be  steady 
my  good  children  ;  be  steady  I  entreat  you. ' '  A  piece  of 
his  coat  being  either  purposely  or  by  accident  torn  off,  was 
instantly  divided  into  hundreds  of  scraps,  for  the  procure- 
ment of  each  remnant  of  which,  by  way  of  relic,  there 
was  as  much  struggling  as  if  the  effort  had  been  made  to 
become  possessed  of  so  many  ingots  of  gold.  He  found 
in  the  apartments,  which  the  King  had  but  lately  vacated, 
a  brilliant  assemblage  of  those  who  had  in  former  times 
filled  the  most  prominent  places  in  his  own  councils  and 
court. 

"  Gentlemen,"  said  Napoleon,  as  he  walked  round  the 
circle,  "  it  is  disinterested  people  who  have  brought  me 
back  to  my  capital.  It  is  the  subalterns  and  the  soldiers 
that  have  done  it  all.  I  owe  everything  to  the  people  and 
the  army. ' ' 

All  night  long  the  cannon  of  Marengo  and  Austerlitz 
pealed  forth  their  joyous  sounds,  the  city  was  brilliantly 
illuminated,  and  all  except  the  Bourbons,  who,  as  Thiers 
happily  says,  "  during  twenty-five  years  had  neither 
learned  or  forgotten  anything,"  were  rejoicing  at  the 
return  of  the  Bxile.  Napoleon  had  now  proved  that  he 
was  not  only  Emperor  of  the  army  but  of  the  citizens, 


434  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

the  people,  the  peasantry,  and  the  masses.  With  a  handful 
of  men  he  had  marched  from  one  end  of  the  kingdom  to 
the  other,  entered  the  capital  and  taken  possession  of  the 
throne,  and  that  without  shedding  even  one  drop  of  blood  ! 

He  assigned,  among  other  reasons  for  leaving  Klba, that 
in  addition  to  the  violation  of  the  treaty  of  Fontaiuebleau 
in  failing  to  pay  his  pension,  that  his  wife  and  child  had 
been  seized,  detained,  and  never  permitted  to  join  him  ;that 
the  pensions  to  his  mother  and  brothers  were  alike  refused, 
and  that  assassins  had  been  sent  over  to  Elba,  for  the 
express  purpose  of  murdering  him.  This  last  charge  has 
also  been  made  by  Savary  with  much  positiveness.  ' '  I^ast 
year, ' '  said  Napoleon,  ' '  it  was  said  that  I  recalled  the 
Bourbons  ;  this  year  they  recall  me  ;  so  we  are  equal ! ' ' 

Previous  to  the  morning  of- the  20th  of  March  the 
nights  had  been  rainy  and  the  days  sombre  and  cloudy  ; 
but  on  this  morning,  the  anniversary  of  the  birth  of  the 
young  King  of  Rome, the  day  was  ushered  in  by  a  brilliant 
sun  and  which  produced  a  strong  effect  on  the  populace 
who  again  referred  in  their  acclamations  to  the  ' '  sun 
of  Napoleon"  as  they  had  that  of  Austerlitz,  ten  years 
before.  On  the  following  day  the  whole  population  of 
the  capital  directed  their  steps  towards  the  Tuileries  and 
repeated  anon  and  anon  their  pleasure  at  the  return  of 
the  Emperor  who  had,  between  the  ist  and  the  20th  of 
March,  fulfilled  that  strange  prophecy  in  which  he  said, 
victory  would  march  at  the  charging  step,  and  that  the 
imperial  eagle  would  fly,  without  pause,  from  steeple  to 
steeple,  to  the  towers  of  Norte  Dame,  even  to  the 
dome  of  the  Palace  of  the  Tuileries! 


XVI 

THE  HUNDRED  DAYS.  WATEREOO. 

The  instant  that  news  of  Napoleon's  daring  movement 
reached  Vienna,  the  Congress,  although  on  the  point  of 
dissolution, published  a  proclamation  in  which  it  was  said: 
"By  breaking  the  Convention  which  had  established  him 
in  Elba,  Bonaparte  destroyed  the  only  legal  title  on  which 
his  existence  depended  ;  and  by  appearing  again  in  France, 
with  projects  of  confusion  and  disorder,  he  has  deprived 
himself  of  the  protection  of  the  laws,  and  has  manifested 
to  the  universe  that  there  can  be  neither  peace  or  truce 
with  him.  The  powers  consequently  declare,  that  Napo- 
leon Bonaparte  has  placed  himself  without  the  pale  of 
civil  and  social  relations,  and  that  as  an  enemy  and 
disturber  of  the  tranquility  of  the  world,  he  has  rendered 
himself  liable  to  public  vengeance. " 

All  Europe  was  now  prepared  once  more  for  war.  A 
formal  treaty  was  entered  into  by  which  the  four  great 
powers,  England,  Austria,  Russia  and  Prussia,  bound 
themselves  to  maintain,  each  of  them,  at  least  150,000 
troops  in  arms  until  Napoleon  should  either  be  dethroned, 
or  reduced  so  low  as  no  longer  to  endanger  the  peace  of 
Europe.  The  other  states  of  the  Continent  were  to  be 
invited  to  join  the  alliance,  furnishing  contingents 
adequate  to  their  respective  resources. 

It  was  stipulated  that  in  case  England  should  not  furnish 
all  the  men  agreed  upon  she  would  compensate  by  paying 
at  the  rate  of  $150  per  annum  for  every  cavalry  soldier, 
and  f  100  for  every  foot  soldier  under  the  full  number. 

On  the  day  following  his  return  from  Elba,  Napoleon 

reviewed  all  the  troops  in  Paris,  and  addressed  them  in  one 

435 


436  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

of  those  stirring  and  eloquent  speeches  which  had 
never  failed  to  excite  their  enthusiasm.  In  beginning 
his  address,  he  said:  "Soldiers,  I  am  returned  to 
France  with  twelve  hundred  men,  because  I  relied 
upon  the  love  of  the  people,  and  the  remembrance  of 
me  with  the  veteran  troops.  I  have  not  been  deceived  in 
my  expectations  ;  I  thank  you,  soldiers.  The  glory  of  all 
that  is  achieved  is  due  to  the  people  and  yourselves.  My 
only  merit  consists  in  having  justly  appreciated  you." 

Cries  of  "Vive  I'Empereur  !"  filled  the  air  and  were 
redoubled  when  General  Cambronne  entered  at  the  head  of 
the  ofiicers  of  the  battalion  of  the  Guard,  which  had  accom- 
panied him  to  and  from  Elba,  and  carrying  the  imperial 
eagles.  On  observing  the  ancient  emblems.  Napoleon 
exclaimed,  "Behold  the  officers  of  the  battalion  who 
accompanied  me  in  the  hour  of  misfortune!  They  are 
all  my  friends ;  they  are  dear  to  my  heart ;  whenever 
I  beheld  them,  they  presented  to  my  view  the  different 
regiments  composing  the  army  ;  for,  in  the  number  of 
these  six  hundred  brave  men,  there  are  individuals  of 
every  corps.  In  loving  them,  it  is  all  of  you,  soldiers 
of  the  whole  army,  that  I  loved.  They  come  to  restore 
you  those  eagles;  let  them  prove  to  you  the  rallying 
point  !  Swear  that  they  shall  be  found  everywhere, 
when  the  interests  of  the  country  shall  require  them  ; 
that  the  traitors,  and  those  who  would  subjugate  our 
territory,  may  never  be  able  to  support  their  view." 
' '  We  swear  !  ' '  came  the  vociferous  replies  of  the  soldiers 
to  the  strains  of  the  band  playing:  "I^etus  watch  over 
the  safety  of  the  Empire. ' ' 

Among  the  peals  that  rent  the  air,  those  of  the  working 
class  were  particularly  audible,  their  incessant  cries  being 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  437 

couched  in  these  terms  :  ' '  The  Great  Contractor  is 
returned  ;  we  shall  now  eat  bread  !' ' 

Napoleon  was  hardly  reseated  on  his  throne  ere  he 
learned  that  he  must  in  all  likelihood  defend  himself  against 
225,000  Russians,  300,000  Austrians,  236,000  Prussians, 
an  army  of  150, 000  men  furnished  by  the  minor  States  of 
Germany,  50,000  contributed  by  the  government  of  the 
Netherlands,  and  50,000  English, commanded  by  the  Duke 
of  Wellington;  in  all  1,100,000  soldiers!  From  the 
moment  he  re-established  himself  in  the  Tuileries,  he 
began  that  period  of  his  government,  which  has  been 
designated  the  ' '  Hundred  Days, ' '  in  order  to  meet  this 
gigantic  confederation.  Carnot  became  once  more  Minister 
of  War,  and  showed  the  same  energy  he  had  manifested 
during  the  Consulate.  Napoleon  had  the  nation  with 
him  at  that  moment,  notwithstanding  the  proclama- 
tions of  lyouis  XVIII., — which  had  found  their  way  into 
the  capital, — announced  the  speedy  arrival  of  a  million 
foreign  soldiers  under  the  walls  of  Paris  to  replace  him  on 
his  throne  and  drive  away  the  ' '  usurper. ' ' 

The  Duchess  d'Angouleme  was  the  last  of  the  royal 
family  who  remained  in  France.  She  had  thrown  herself 
into  Bordeaux,  trusting  to  the  friendly  feeling  of  the 
mayor  and  citizens.  She  made  strong  efforts  to  maintain 
the  Bourbon  cause,  and  behaved  with  so  much  spirit  as 
to  make  Napoleon  pass  an  eulogium  on  her  as  ' '  the  only 
man  of  her  family."     But  her  efforts  failed. 

The  effective  force  of  the  army  in  France,  when  Napo- 
leon landed  at  Cannes,  consisted  of  but  about  93,000 
men.  The  cavalry  had  been  greatly  reduced,  and  the 
disasters  of  1812,  1813  and  18 14  were  still  visible  in  the 
deficiency  of  military  stores,   and  arms, — especially  of 


438  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

artillery.  By  almost  incredible  exertions,  although  now 
unable  to  adopt  the  old  method  of  conscription,  by  the 
middle  of  May  the  Emperor  had  over  375,000  men  in 
arms, — including  an  Imperial  Guard  of  40,000  chosen 
veterans, — all  in  a  splendid  state  of  equipment  and  disci- 
pline ;  a  large  and  brilliant  force  of  cavalrj^,  and  a  train  of 
artillery  of  proportional  extent  and  excellence.  He  had 
labored  unremittingly  to  raise  the  military  strength  of 
France  to  a  height  sufficient  once  more  to  repel  the  attack 
of  all  Europe,  and  was  employed  fifteen  or  sixteen  hours  a 
day  during  the  whole  of  this  period.  Men, clothing,  arms, 
horses,  and  discipline  were  wanting. 

All  the  veterans  were  now  recalled  to  the  ranks.  They 
came  in  crowds,  leaving  the  employments  to  which  they 
had  applied  themselves  to  the  number  of  one  hundred 
thousand  men.  All  the  ofl&cers  on  half  pay  were  also 
summoned  to  action. 

Napoleon  made  several  attempts  to  open  a  negotiation 
with  the  Allies,  and  urged  three  arguments  in  defense  of  his 
"breach  of  the  Convention"  by  which  he  had  become 
sovereign  of  Elba:  ist,  the  detention  of  his  wife  and  son  by 
the  Court  of  Austria :  2d,  the  non-payment  of  his  pension, 
and  3d,  the  voice  of  the  French  nation  which  he  had  heard 
and  obeyed,  as  evidenced  by  the  fact  that  by  the  end  of 
March  the  tri-colored  flag  was  displayed  on  every  tower  in 
France. 

During  the  last  days  of  the  Congress  of  Vienna,  Murat's 
possession  of  the  throne  of  Naples  was  under  discussion, 
and  Talleyrand  was  endeavoring  to  dethrone  him  and 
place  thereon  the  King  of  the  Sicilies.  When  Napoleon 
landed  on  the  shores  of  France,  Murat  resolved  to  rival  his 
brother-in-law's  daring  and  without  further  pause  marched 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  439 

to  Rome,  at  the  head  of  50,000  men,  the  Pope  and 
cardinals  fleeing  at  his  approach.  Murat  then  advanced 
into  the  north  of  Italy,  inviting  "all  true  Italians"  to  rally 
round  him,  and  assist  in  the  erection  of  their  country  into 
one  free  and  independent  state,  with  himself  at  their  head. 

The  Austrian  commander  in  lyombardy  put  his  troops 
in  motion  at  once  to  meet  Murat,  and  the  latter' s  followers 
fleeing  in  confusion,  their  leader  sought  personal  safety 
in  flight.  On  quitting  his  wretched  remnant  of  an  army  he 
returned  incognito  to  his  capital  on  the  evening  of  the 
1 8th  of  May.  As  he  embraced  his  queen, — Napoleon's 
sister, — he  exclaimed,  with  emotion,  "All  is  lost,  Caroline, 
e-xcept  my  own  life,  and  that  I  have  been  unable  to  throw 
away  !" 

He  departed  in  a  fishing  vessel  which  landed  him  near 
Toulon  about  the  end  of  Ma}  .  Here  he  lingered  for  some 
time,  entreating  Napoleon  to  receive  him  at  Paris,  and 
being  unsuccessful,  after  a  series  of  extraordinary  hard- 
ships, relanded  on  the  coast  of  Naples  after  the  King  of 
the  Two  Sicilies  had  been  re-established  on  that  throne. 

Murat  hoped  to  invite  an  insurrection  and  recover  what 
he  had  lost;but  was  seized,  tried,  and  executed,  meeting 
his  fate  with  heroic  fortitude.  To  those  who  took  his  life 
he  said  at  the  last  moment,  "  Save  my  face;  aim  at  my 
heart!"  At  St.  Helena,  Napoleon  often  said  that  the 
fortune  of  the  world  might  have  been  changed  had  there 
been  a  Murat  to  head  the  French  cavalry  at  Waterloo. 

Austria  was  now  concentrating  all  her  Italian  forces  for 
the  meditated  re-invasion  of  France  ;  the  Spanish  army 
began  to  muster  towards  the  passes  of  the  Pyrenees,  the 
Russians,  Swedes  and  Danes  were  already  advancing  from 
"he  north,  while  the  main  armies  of  Austria,  Bavaria  and 


440  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

the  Rhenish  princes  were  rapidly  consolidating  themselves 
along  the  Upper  Rhine.  Blucher  was  once  more  in 
command  of  the  Prussians  in  the  Netherlands  ;  and  Well- 
ington, commanding  in  chief  the  British,  Hanoverians 
and  Belgians,  had  also  established  his  headquarters  at 
Brussels  by  the  end  of  May.  It  was  very  evident  to 
Napoleon  that  the  clouds  were  thickening  fast  and  he  at 
once  began  preparations  to  defend  himself  ere  his  frontier 
had  been  crossed  on  all  sides. 

Among  other  preparations,  the  Emperor  had  now 
strongly  fortified  Paris  and  all  the  positions  in  advance  of 
it  on  the  Seine,  the  Marne,  and  the  Aube,  and  among  the 
passes  of  the  Vosgesian  hills.  I^yons,  also,  had  been 
guarded  by  very  formidable  outworks.  Massena,  at  Metz, 
and  Suchet,  on  the  Swiss  frontier,  commanded  divisions 
which  the  Kniperor  judged  sufficient  to  restrain  Schwart- 
zenberg  for  some  time  on  the  Upper  Rhine.  Should  he 
drive  them,  in  the  fortresses  behind  could  hardly  fail  to 
detain  him  much  longer. 

Meanwhile  Napoleon  had  resolved  to  himself  attack  the 
most  alert  of  his  enemies,  the  Prussians  and  the  English, 
beyond  the  Sambre, — while  the  Austrians  were  thus  held 
in  check  on  the  Upper  Rhine;  and  ere  the  armies  of  the 
North  could  debouch  upon  Manheim,  to  co-operate  by  their 
right  with  Wellington  and  Blucher, and  by  their  left  with 
Schwartzenberg. 

On  the  14th  of  May,  previously  appointed  as  the  day 
of  procession  and  solemn  festival  of  the  ' '  Federates, ' ' — 
operatives  and  artisans  of  Paris — the  Emperor  rode  along 
their  ranks,  received  their  acclamations,  and  harangued 
them  in  his  usual  strain  of  eloquence.  In  the  meantime, 
however,  Eouche,  Minister  of  Police,  had  already  begun 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  441 

to  hold  traitorous  communications  with  the  Austrian 
government.  In  one  instance  Napoleon  had  discovered 
this  fact,  and  had  nearly  caused  him  to  be  arrested  ;  but  he 
abstained,  apparently  from  apprehension  of  the  Republican 
party,  amongst  whom  Fouche  was  a  busy  pretender. 

The  ceremony  of  the  ' '  Champ-de-Mai ' '  took  place  on 
the  ist  of  June,  in  the  open  space  facing  the  Military  School. 
The  Imperial  and  National  Guards  and  troops  of  the 
line, amounting  in  all  to  15,000  soldiers,  were  drawn  up  in 
squares  in  the  Champ-de-Mars  and  an  immense  concourse 
of  spectators  thronged  every  vacant  space  from  which  a 
view  of  the  scene  could  be  gained.  After  a  religious 
solemnity, a  patriotic  address  was  delivered  to  the  Emperor 
by  the  electors  of  the  departments,  to  which  he  replied  : 
"  Emperor,  Consul,  Soldier — I  hold  all  from  the  people. 
In  prosperity,  in  adversity,  in  the  field  of  battle,  in 
council,  on  the  throne,  in  exile,  France  has  been  the  sole 
object  of  all  my  thoughts  and  actions." 

The  Emperor  then  proceeded  to  the  altar  and  took  an 
oath  to  observe  the  new  constitution,  which  had  been 
adopted  by  upwards  of  a  million  and  a  half  votes,  and  in 
which  he  was  followed  by  his  ministers  and  the  electoral 
deputations.  The  ceremony  concluded  with  the  distribu- 
tion of  the  eagles  to  the  troops,  and  with  loud  and 
repeated  acclamations,  and  cries  of  "  Vive  1'  Empereur!  " 
from  the  soldiers  and  multitude  assembled.  On  the 
following  day  the  Emperor  gave  a  grand  fete,  in  the 
gallery  of  the  I^ouvre,  to  the  deputies  of  the  army  and 
the  electors,  on  which  occasion  he  was  again  greeted  with 
every  manifestation  of  devotion  and  fidelity.  On  the  4th 
of  June,  Napoleon  attended  in  person  the  opening  of  the 
Chambers  and  delivered  addresses  which  were  both  firm, 
open  and  sensible. 


442  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

By  this  time  the  Emperor  had  made  most  extraordinary 
progress  in  his  preparations  for  war.  The  effective 
strength  of  the  army  had  been  raised  to  365,000  men,  of 
whom  117,000  were  under  arms,  clothed,  disciplined  and 
ready  to  take  the  field.  They  were  formed  into  seven 
grand  corps,  besides  several  corps  of  observation  stationed 
along  the  whole  line  of  the  frontiers,  which  were  then 
threatened  on  every  side.  What  Napoleon  now  required 
was  time  to  prepare  the  means  of  defense;  but  this  his 
enemies  were  far  from  intending  to  allow. 

Their  immense  armaments  were  already  passing  on 
towards  the  frontiers  of  France,  in  different  lines,  and  at 
considerable  intervals,  for  the  convenience  of  subsistence. 
The  Emperors  of  Russia  and  Austria,  and  the  King  of 
Prussia,  had  once  more  placed  themselves  at  the  head  of 
their  respective  armies.  The  Austrians,  amounting  to 
300,000  men,  commanded  in  chief  by  Schwartzenberg, 
were  divided  into  two  bodies,  one  of  which  was  to  enter 
France  by  Switzerland,  the  other  by  the  Upper  Rhine. 
Two  hundred  thousand  Russians  were  marching  towards 
Alsace,  under  the  Archduke  Constantine.  The  Prussian 
army  amounted  to  two  hundred  and  thirty-six  thousand  * 
men  ;  of  whom  one  half  were  already  in  the  field.  The 
minor  states  of  Germany  had  furnished  one  hundred  and 
fifty  thousand  ;  the  Netherlands,  fifty  thousand  ;  England, 
eighty  thousand,  including  the  king's  German  legion,  and 
other  troops  in  British  pay,  under  the  command  of  the 
Duke  of  Wellington  ; — in  all   1,016,000  soldiers ! 

Among  these  hosts  it  was  the  army  commanded  by  the 
Duke  of  Wellington,  and  the  Prussians  under  Blucher, 
which  were   first  in  the  field.     They  occupied  Belgium 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  443 

and  amounted  to  upwards  of  t^yo  hundred  thousand  men, 
of  whom  rather  less  than  one  half  were  ranged  under  the 
English  commander-in-chief. 

Two  plans  of  campaign  presented  themselves  to  the 
mind  of  Napoleon.  One  was  to  remain  entirely  on  the 
defensive,  leaving  to  the  Allies  the  odium  of  striking  the 
first  blow  against  the  liberties  of  nations.  He  believed 
that  as  they  would  not  begin  the  invasion  until  the  middle 
of  July,  it  would  be  the  middle  of  August  before  they 
could  make  their  way  through  the  fortresses,  and  appear 
in  force  before  L/yons  and  Paris.  Large  armies,  could, 
before  that  time,  be  concentrated  by  him  under  the  walls 
of  these  two  cities,  and  there  the  battles  must  be  fought 
and  decided.  The  second  plan  was  to  assume  the  offensive 
before  the  Allies  had  completed  their  operations,  by 
marching  into  Belgium  and  attacking  the  armies  of 
Wellington  and  Blucher.  His  numbers  would  be  inferior, 
but  his  tactics  would  aim  at  preventing  the  junction  of 
the  two  armies  opposed  to  him  and  beating  them  separ- 
ately, in  which  event  Belgium  would  to  a  certainty  rise 
and  join  his  cause.  He  finally  resolved  on  the  latter  plan 
of  campaign.  His  calculations,  were,  in  part,  disturbed 
by  a  serious  insurrection  in  La  Vendee,  which  obliged 
him'  to  send  20,000  men  into  that  province,  in  order 
to  quell  it,  and  reduced  his  disposable  forces  to  one 
hundred  and  twenty  thousand  men  ;  but  did  not  alter  his 
determination.  The  army  was  put  in  motion,  and  every 
preparation  made  for  the  approaching  struggle. 

The  Emperor  left  Paris  on  the  night  between  the  nth 
and  12th  of  June,  as  some  writers  declare  "to  measure 
himself  against  Wellington."  The  Imperial  Guard  had 
commenced  its  march  on  the  8th,  and  all  the  different 

29 


444  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

corps  of  the  army  were  in  motion  towards  Maubeuge  and 
Phillipville.  When  he  had  made  known  his  intention  of 
commencing  the  war,  Caulaincourt  soHcited  the  favor  of 
attending  him.  "  If  I  do  not  leave  you  at  Paris  ' '  answered 
Napoleon,  "on  whom  can  I  depend?"  Even  then  he 
felt  that  it  was  not  the  Allies  alone  that  he  had  to  contend 
against ;  and  when  he  had  left  Paris  he  seemed  less  appre- 
hensive of  the  enemies  before,  than  those  he  had  left 
behind  him.  To  Bertrand's  wife  he  said,  as  he  took  her 
hand  at  departing,  ' '  I^et  us  hope,  Madame  Bertrand,  that 
we  may  not  soon  have  to  regret  the  Island  of  Elba. " 

Napoleon  arrived  at  Vervins  on  the  12  th  of  June  and 
assembled  and  reviewed  at  Beaumont  on  the  14th,  the  whole 
of  the  army  which  had  been  prepared  to  act  immediately 
under  his  own  orders.  They  had  been  most  carefully 
selected,  and  formed,  and  it  was,  perhaps,  the  most  perfect 
force,  though  far  from  the  most  numerous,  with  which  he 
had  ever  taken  the  field.  The  returns  showed  that  his  army 
amounted  to  one  hundred  and  twenty-two  thousand  four 
hundred  men,  with  three  hundred  and  fifty  pieces  of 
cannon.  These  included  25,000  of  his  Imperial  Guard, 
25,000  cavalry  in  the  highest  condition,  and  artillery 
admirably  served.  * '  The  whole  army  was  superb  and 
full  of  ardor ; ' '  says  Count  lyabedoyere,  * '  but  the 
Emperor,  more  a  slave  than  could  have  been  credited  to 
recollections  and  old  habits,  committed  the  great  fault  of 
replacing  his  army  under  the  command  of  its  former 
chiefs,  most  of  whom,  notwithstanding  their  previous 
addresses  to  the  King,  did  not  cease  to  pray  for  the 
triumph  of  the  Imperial  cause  ;  yet  were  not  disposed 
to  serve  it  with  that  ardor  and  devotion  demanded  by 
imperious  circumstances.     They  were  no  longer  men  full 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  445 

of  youth  and  ambition,  generously  prodigal  of  their  lives 
to  acquire  rank  and  fame  ;  but  veterans,  weary  of  warfare, 
who,  having  attained  the  summit  of  promotion,  and  being 
enriched  by  the  spoils  of  the  enemy,  or  the  bounty  of 
Napoleon,  indulged  no  other  wish,  than  the  peaceable 
enjoyment  of  their  good  fortune  under  the  shade  of  those 
laurels,  they  had  so  dearly  acquired. ' ' 

The  Emperor  reminded  his  soldiers, in  a  fiery  proclama- 
tion issued  on  the  14th  of  June,  that  the  day  was  the  anni- 
versary of  •  the  battle  of  Marengo  and  of  Friedland. 
"  Then,  as  after  Austerlitz  and  Wagram  "  he  said  "  we 
were  too  generous.  We  gave  credit  to  the  protestations 
and  oaths  of  the  princes  whom  we  suffered  to  remain  on 
their  thrones.  Now,  however,  having  coalesced  among 
themselves,  they  aim  at  the  independence  and  the  most 
sacred  rights  of  France.  They  have  commenced  the  most 
unjust  of  aggressions.  Are  we  no  longer  the  same  men  ? 
Fools  that  they  are  !  A  moment  of  prosperity  blinds 
them.  The  oppression  and  the  humiliation  of  the  French 
people  are  out  of  their  power.  If  they  enter  France, 
there  will  they  find  their  tomb.  Soldiers  !  We  have  forced 
marches  to  make  ;  battles  to  wage  ;  perils  to  encounter  ; 
but  with  constancy  the  victory  will  be  ours.  The  rights 
— the  honor  of  the  country — will  be  honored.  For  every 
Frenchman  who  has  a  heart,  the  moment  has  now  arrived 
either  to  conquer  or  perish  ! ' ' 

The  army  of  Blucher  numbered  at  this  time  about 
1 20,000  men.  They  communicated  on  their  right  with  the 
left  of  the  Anglo-Belgian  army,  under  Wellington,  whose 
headquarters  were  at  Brussels.  Blucher's  forces  extended 
along  the  line  of  the  Sambre  and  the  Meuse,  occupied 
Charleroi,    Namur,    Givet,   and    Liege.     The  Duke  of 


446  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

of  Wellington's  host  amounted  in  all  to  75,000  men  ;  his 
first  division  occupied  Enghien,  Brain-le-Compte  and 
Nivelles,  communicating  with  the  Prussian  right  at 
Charleroi.  The  second  division, — Lord  Hills', — ^was 
cantoned  in  Halle,  Oudenard  and  Gramont,  together  with 
the  greater  part  of  the  cavalry.  The  reserve,  under  Sir 
Thomas  Picton,  was  quartered  at  Brussels  and  Ghent. 
The  English  and  Prussian  commanders  had  thus  arranged 
their  troops  with  the  view  of  being  able  to  support  each 
other,  wherever  the  French  might  hazard  their  assault. 

In  the  night  between  the  14th  and  15th,  scouts  returned 
to  the  headquarters  of  the  French,  reporting  that  there 
was  no  movement  among  the  invaders  at  Charleroi, 
Namur  or  Brussels,  thus  verifying  the  Emperor's  belief 
that  the  plans  for  concealing  the  movements  of  his  army 
during  the  last  few  days  were  successful.  The  Duke  of 
Wellington,  in  a  letter  to  I^ord  Bathurst,  on  the  13th, 
declared  his  disbelief  in  the  report  that  Napoleon  had 
joined  the  army,  and  it  was  not  until  the  afternoon  of  the 
15th  that  he  possessed  any  knowledge  of  the  posi- 
tion and  intentions  of  Napoleon.  On  that  day,  an  officer 
of  high  rank  arrived  at  Wellington's  headquarters  in 
Brussels  with  the  intelligence  of  Napoleon's  decisive 
operations. 

General  Bourmont,  a  protege  of  Ney,  with  Colonels 
Clouet  and  Villoutreys,  and  two  other  officers,  had  gone 
over  to  the  enemy  with  all  the  Emperor's  plans.  Napoleon 
knew  from  Marshal  Ney  that  Bourmont  had  shown  some 
hesitation,  and  he  had  been  backward  in  employing  him. 
Bourmont,  however,  having  given  General  Gerard  his 
word  of  honor  to  serve  the  Emperor  faithfully  ;  and  the 
general  in  question,  whom  Napoleon  valued  highly,  having 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  447 

answered  for  his  integrity,  the  Emperor  consented  to 
admit  him  into  the  service.  He  had  covered  himself  with 
glory  in  18 14,  and  it  was  not  to  be  expected  that  he  would 
in  1 8 15  go  over  to  the  enemy  on  the  eve  of  a  battle.  A 
drum-major,  who  deserted  from  the  French  ranks  some 
hours  before  General  Bourmont  and  his  two  companions, 
was  conducted  under  an  escort  to  the  headquarters  of 
Blucher,  at  Namur,  where  he  gave  the  first  intelligence  of 
Napoleon's  intended  attack.  This  was  confirmed  by 
Bourmont,  Clouet  and  Villoutreys  who  added  details  with 
which  the  drum-major  could  not  possibly  have  been 
acquainted. 

I^ater  on,  in  speaking  of  these  traitors.  Napoleon  said, 
' '  Their  names  will  be  held  in  execration  so  long  as  the 
French  people  form  a  nation.  This  desertion  increased 
the  anxiety  of  the  soldiers. ' ' 

The  Emperor  immediately  made  those  alterations  in  his 
plan  of  attack,  as  such  unexpected  treason  rendered 
neccessary,  and  then  proceeded  to  carry  out  the  details  of 
his  campaign.  He  had  determined  on  first  attacking  the 
Prussians,  as  he  believed  Blucher  would  give  him  battle 
at  once,  in  order  to  allow  the  English  time  to  collect  their 
forces.  He  believed  also,  that  if  the  English  army  were 
attacked  first,  Blucher  would  more  rapidly  arrive  to  the 
support  of  the  English  than  the  latter  were  likely  to  do 
if  the  Prussians  were  first  attacked. 

Ney  had  been  placed  in  command  of  43,000  men,  with 
orders  to  advance  on  the  road  to  Brussels  and  make  him- 
self master  of  the  position  of  Quatre-Bras,  at  all  points^ 
so  as  to  prevent  Wellington  from  supporting  the  Prussians. 
He  was  to  march  at  daybreak,  on  the  i6th,  occupy  the 
position  and  intrench  himself. 


448  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

On  Thursday,  the  15th  of  June,  the  French  drove  in  all 
the  outposts  on  the  west  bank  of  the  Sambre  at  daybreak 
and  at  length  assaulted  Charleroi,  it  being  the  intention  of 
the  Emperor  to  crush  Blucher  ere  he  could  concentrate 
all  his  own  forces, — far  less  be  supported  by  the  advance 
of  Wellington, — and  then  rush  on  Brussels.  Zietten  held 
out  with  severe  loss  at  Charleroi ;  but  long  enough  for 
the  alarm  to  spread  along  the  whole  Prussian  line  and 
then  fell  back  on  a  position  between  I^igny  and  Amand, 
where  Blucher  now  awaited  Napoleon's  attack  at  the 
head  of  his  whole  army,  except  the  division  of  Bulow, 
which  had  not  yet  come  up  from  I^iege. 

Thedesignof  beating  the  Prussians  in  detail  was  not  a 
success  but  the  second  part  of  the  plan — that  of  separating 
them  wholly  from  Wellington,  might  still  succeed.  With 
this  view,  while  Blucher  was  concentrating  his  force 
about  I^igny,  the  French  held  the  main  road  to  Brussels 
from  Charleroi,  beating  some  Nassau  troops  at  Frasnes, 
and  following  them  as  far  as  Quatre-Bras,  a  farm-house, 
so-called  because  it  is  there  that  the  roads  from  Charleroi 
to  Brussels,  and  from  Nivelles  to  Namur  cross  each  other. 

On  Thursday  a  Prussian  officer  arrived  at  Wellington's 
headquarters  in  Brussels,  with  the  intelligence  of  Napo- 
leon's decisive  operations.  It  is  still  an  open  question 
just  what  hour  this  news  was  received  by  the  Duke,  the 
time  being  variously  stated  at  from  i  to  6  o'clock  p.m. 
This  news  was  to  the  effect  that  the  attack  had  commenced 
and  the  out-posts  of  the  Allies  had  been  driven  back — much 
to  Wellington's  surprise,  as  he  was  not  wholly  prepared  for 
the  news.  There  was  to  be  a  ball  in  Brussels  on  Thursday 
evening,  at  the  Duchess  of  Richmond's  hotel,  attended  by 
the  Duke  of  Wellington  and  most  of  his  general 
ofi&cers.     Notwithstanding  the  intelligence,  they  all  went ; 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  449 

6ut  a  second  dispatch  arrived  at  11  o'clock,  announcing 
that  ' '  the  French  had  entered  Charleroi  that  morning, 
and  continued  to  march  in  order  of  battle  on  Brussels  ; 
that  there  were  one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  strong  ; 
and  that  the  Emperor  was  at  their  head  !  "  It  was  now 
but  too  clear  that  no  more  time  should  be  lost  and  the 
Duke  and  all  of  his  officers  hurried  out  of  the  ball-room. 

Wellington,  now  fully  aware  of  his  situation,  at  once 
issued  orders  for  the  breaking  up  of  his  cantonments,  and 
the  concentration  of  the  forces,  which  were  spread  over  a 
very  great  extent.  He  rode  off  at  an  early  hour  on  the 
1 6th,  to  Quatre-Bras,  to  visit  the  position,  and  thence  to 
Bry,  where  he  had  an  interview  with  Blucher. 

Napoleon,  whose  manoeuvres  had  thus  far  succeeded  to 
his  wish,  on  coming  up  from  Charleroi  about  noon  on  the 
1 6th,  was  undecided  whether  Blucher  at  I<igny,  or 
Wellington  at  Quatre-Bras,  ought  to  form  the  main  object 
of  his  attack.  He  at  length  determined  to  give  his  own 
personal  attention  to  Blucher. 

The  advanced  guards  met  at  the  village  of  Fleurus, 
and  those  belonging  to  the  Prussians  having  retreated, 
their  army  now  appeared  drawn  up  in  battle  array  ; — their 
left  on  Sombref ;  their  centre  on  L,igny ;  their  right  on 
SI.  Amand,  The  reserves  were  on  the  heights  of  Bry. 
Upon  the  summit  of  this  high  ground  the  mill  of  Bry  was 
conspicuous,  and  behind  the  mill,  in  a  depression,  stood 
the  village  of  Bry,  whose  steeple  only  was  visible. 

The  Prussian  forces  occupied  a  line  nearly  four  miles 
in  extent.  The  French  army.not  including  Ney's  division, 
amounting  to  60,000  men,  halted  and  formed.  The 
Emperor  now  rode  to  some  windmills  on  the  chain  of 
outposts  on  the  heights,  and  reconnoitred  the  enemy. 


450  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Prussians  displayed  to  him  a  force  of  about  80,000 
men.  Their  front  was  protected  by  a  deep  ravine  ;  but  their 
right  was  exposed,  and  had  Ney's  division  at  Quatre-Bras, 
as  the  Emperor  supposed,  in  the  rear.  A  staff  ofl&cer  now 
arrived  from  Ney,  to  inform  Napoleon  that  he  had  not 
yet  occupied  Quatre-Bras,  inconsequence  of  reports  which 
made  him  apprehensive  of  being  turned  by  the  enemy  ; 
but  that  he  would  advance,  if  the  Emperor  still  required 
it.  Napoleon  blamed  him  for  having  lost  eight  hours, 
repeated  the  order,  and  added  that,  as  soon  as  Ney  had 
made  good  that  position,  he  (Ney)  was  to  send  a  detach- 
ment by  the  causeway  of  Namur  and  the  village  of 
Marchais,  whence  it  should  attack  the  heights  of  Bry  in 
the  Prussian  rear.  Ney  received  this  order  at  12  o'clock, 
noon  ;  his  detachment  might  reach  Marchais  by  about 
2  o'clock. 

Atthis  latter  hour,  therefore,  the  Emperor  having  descend- 
ed from  the  heights  whence  he  had  formed  a  correct  view  of 
his  position,  gave  orders  for  an  immediate  attack  by  a 
change  of  the  whole  front,  divided  into  several  columns,  on 
Fleurus.  The  attack  extended  all  along  the  line  of  the 
enemy,  and  which  would  be  enclosed  between  two  fires  on 
the  arrival  of  the  detachment  from  Ney's  division  in  the 
rear  of  the  Prussians.  ' '  The  fate  of  the  war, ' '  said  Napo- 
leon, in  answer  to  a  question  from  Count  Gerard,  "may  be 
decided  in  three  hours.  If  Ney  executes  his  orders  well, 
not  a  gun  of  the  Prussian  army  will  escape."  The 
soldiers  had  hardly  advanced  a  few  paces,  amid  vociferous 
cries  of  ' '  Vive  1'  Empereur  ! ' '  when  terrible  ravages 
were  made  in  their  ranks  by  the  chain-shot  from  the 
village  and  the  balls  from  the  batteries  above.  A  single 
ball  killed  eight  men  in  one  of  the  columns.     But  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  451 

enthusiasm  of  the  troops,  all  eager  for  battle,  was  too  great 
to  cause  them  to  waver  and  they  advanced  almost  without 
firing,  drove  the  Prussians  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet 
from  their  positions  in  the  gardens  and  orchards,  and 
entered  the  village  after  a  stout  resistance,  only  to  retire  a 
short  time  later  being  unable  to  conquer  the  masses  of 
infantry  drawn  up  in  a  semi-circle  on  a  slope  which 
surmounted  the  hill  of  Bry.  The  action  at  I^igny  had 
commenced  a  little  later  but  not  less  aggressively.  As 
Gerard's  three  columns  approached  the  village  of  I^igny 
they  were  received  with  such  a  volley  that  they  were 
obliged  to  fall  back.  A  large  body  of  artillery  was  then 
thrown  forward  and  riddled  the  village  of  lyigny  and 
Gerard's  columns  again  advanced,  finally  taking  posses- 
sion of  the  place.  This  was  followed  by  a  series  of 
combats,  exceedingly  ferocious,  as  the  French  gave  no 
quarter  nor  did  they  receive  any  from  the  Prussians. 

Blucher  now  advanced  at  the  head  of  his  soldiers  and 
made  a  vigorous  attempt  upon  the  three  St,  Amands  ;  but 
with  only  partial  success  for  a  time.  At  length,  by  a 
series  of  skillful  attacks  and  manoeuvres,  the  French 
became  masters  of  these  three  points,  but  had  not  been 
able  to  cross  the  sinuous  stream  of  lyigny.  It  was  now 
5:30  o'clock  and  Napoleon  was  directing  the  Imperial 
Guard  upon  lyigny  in  support  of  the  advantages  already 
gained  by  Count  Gerard  at  the  head  of  5,000  men,  at 
St,  Amand,  when  he  was  informed  that  an  army  of  30,000 
was  advancing  upon  Fleurus.  The  Emperor  suspended 
the  movement  of  his  Guard  in  order  to  meet  this  new 
force  ;  but  the  alarm  was  unfounded.  It  proved  to  be 
the  first  corps, — Count  d' Krlon's, — which  formed  part  of 
Ney's   division,    at    last    complying     with     Napoleon's 


452  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

repeated  orders,  and  had  come  up  to  take  the  enemy  in  the 
rear: — their  unexpected  appearance  had  occasioned  the 
loss  of  two  hours. 

The  Old  Guard  now  resumed  its  suspended  movements 
upon  lyigny  :  the  ravine  was  passed  by  General  Pecheux, 
at  the  head  of  his  division,  supported  by  the  infantry, 
cavalry,  artillery  and  Milhaud's  cuirassiers.  The  reserves 
of  the  Prussians  were  driven  back  with  the  bayonet,  and 
the  centre  of  the  line  broken  and  routed.  A  bloody 
conflict  ensued  in  which  the  French  were  victorious.  The 
slaughter  among  the  Prussians,  was  most  remarkable. 
They,  however,  divided  into  two  parts,  effected  a  retreat, 
favored  by  the  night  and  by  the  failure  of  that  attack  in 
the  rear  which  Ney  had  been  so  expressly  ordered  to 
make  by  a  detachment  from  his  force.  Their  loss  amounted 
to  the  prodigious  number  of  18,000  men,  killed,  wounded 
or  prisoners  ;  forty  pieces  of  cannon  and  eight  stands  of 
colors,  while  the  French  loss  was  between  8,000  and 
9,000. 

For  five  hours,  two  hundred  pieces  of  ordnance  deluged 
the  field  with  slaughter,  blood  and  death,  during  which 
period  the  French  and  Prussians,  alternately  vanquished 
and  victors,  disputed  that  ensanguined  post  hand  to  hand 
and  foot  to  foot,  so  that  no  less  than  seven  times  in 
succession  L/igny  was  taken  and  lost. 

The  Emperor  had  repeatedly  sent  to  Ney  saying  ' '  that 
the  destiny  of  France  rested  in  his  hands  ' '  but  the  veteran 
marshal  failed  to  appreciate  the  importance  of  the  orders 
and  did  not  act  promptly. 

Many  of  the  Prussian  generals  were  killed  or  wounded  ; 
and  Blucher  himself  was  overthrown,  man  and  horse,  by 
a  charge  of  cuirassiers,  and  galloped  over  by  friends  and 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  453 

foes.  Night  was  coming  on  and  the  marshal,  who  was 
much  battered  and  bruised,  effected  his  escape.  He  j  oined 
a  body  of  his  troops,  directed  the  retreat  upon  Wavres, 
and  continued  to  mask  his  movements  so  skilfully,  that 
Napoleon  knew  not  until  noon  on  the  17th  what  way  he 
had  taken. 

The  total  loss  of  the  French  amounted  to  no  more  than 
nine  thousand,  killed  or  wounded — the  extraordinary 
disproportion  being  occasioned  by  the  more  skillful  dispo- 
sition of  the  French  troops,  whereby  all  their  shots  took 
effect,  while  more  than  half  of  those  of  the  enemy  were 
wasted. 

On  the  same  day  as  the  battle  of  Ligny, — June  i6th, — 
was  also  fought  the  battle  of  Quatre-Bras,  and  at  about 
the  same  time.  Ney,  with  45,000  men,  began  an  attack 
on  the  position  of  Wellington  at  Quatre-Bras.  At  this 
point  the  French  were  posted  among  growing  corn  as  high 
as  the  tallest  man's  shoulder,  and  which  enabled  them  to 
draw  up  a  strong  body  of  cuirassiers  close  to  the  English, 
and  yet  entirely  out  of  their  view.  The  49th  and  42d 
regiments  of  Highlanders  were  thus  taken  by  surprise,  and 
the  latter  would  have  been  destroyed  but  for  the  coming 
up  of  the  former.  The  42 d,  formed  into  a  square,  was 
repeatedly  broken,  and  as  often  recovered,  though  with 
terrible  loss  of  life,  for  out  of  800  that  went  into  action, 
onlyninety-six  privates  and  four  officers  remained  unhurt. 

The  pressing  orders  of  Napoleon  not  allowing  the 
marshal  time  for  reflection,  and  doubtless  anxious  to  repair 
the  precious  time  lost  in  which  he  might  have  taken  posses- 
sion of  Quatre-Bras,  he  did  not  sufficiently  reconnoitre 
but  entered  into  the  contest  without  being  wholly  prepared. 
The  first  successful  attack  was  soon  suspended  by  the 


454  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

arrival  of  fresh  reinforcements, led  by  the  Duke  of  Welling- 
ton, and  the  shining  bravery  of  the  Scotch,  Belgians  and 
the  Prince  of  Orange  suspended  the  success  of  the  French. 
They  were  repulsed  by  a  shower  of  bullets  from  the 
British  infantry  added  to  a  battery  of  two  guns  which 
strewed  the  causeway  with  men  and  horses. 

Ney  was  desirous  of  making  the  first  corps,  which 
he  had  left  in  the  rear,  advance ;  but  Napoleon  had 
dispatched  positive  orders  to  Count  d'  Erlon,  at  the  head 
of  that  body,  to  join  him,  for  which  purpose  the  latter 
had  commenced  his  march.  Ney,  when  made  acquainted 
with  this  fact,  was  stationed  amidst  a  cross-fire  from  the 
enemies'  batteries.  '  *  Do  you  see  those  bullets  ?  ' '  cried  the 
marshal,  his  brow  clouded  by  despair  ;  *'  would  that  they 
would  all  pass  through  my  body  ! ' '  and  he  instantly  sent 
General  Delcambre  with  all  speed  after  Count  d'  Erlon, 
directing  that  whatsoever  might  have  been  his  orders, 
although  received  from  the  Kmperor  himself,  he  must 
return.  This  he  did,  but  when  he  arrived  in  the  evening, 
Ney,  dispirited  by  the  checks  already  received,  and 
dissatisfied  with  himself  and  others,  had  discontinued 
the  engagement.  D'  Erlon  had  spent  the  day  in  useless 
marches,  his  valor  wasted  by  a  fatality  over  which  he  had 
no  control.  Between  5  and  6  o'clock  General  Delcambre 
had  overtaken  the  first  corps  on  its  march  to  Bry  and 
brought  it  back  towards  Quatre-Bras  ! 

Night  found  the  English,  after  a  severe  and  bloody  day, 
in  possession  of  Quatre-Bras,  the  French  being  obliged  to 
retreat.  The  gallant  Duke  of  Brunswick,  fighting  in  front 
of  the  hue,  fell  almost  in  the  beginning  of  the  battle. 
The  killed  and  wounded  on  the  side  of  the  French  was 
4,000  and  the  Allies'  loss  was  nearly  6,000,  in  consequence 


NAIOLEON  THE  GREAT  455 

of  their  having  scarcely  any  artillery.  As  at  I^igny,  little 
quarter  was  either  asked  or  given,  there  being  much  hatred 
between  the  French  and  Prussians.  The  French  were  next 
driven  out  from  the  Bois  de  Bossu  by  the  Belgians,  and  the 
English  divisions  of  Alten,  Halket,  Maitland,  Cooke,  and 
Byng,  successively  arrived. 

By  neglecting  to  move  the  whole  of  his  division 
upon  Quatre-Bras  early  in  the  morning,  Ney  failed  to  cut 
off  the  means  of  junction  between  the  Prussian  and  English 
armies  ;  and  by  not  sending  the  detachment  to  attack  the 
Prussians  in  the  rear  at  Ligny,  it  now  appears  that  the 
whole  Prussian  army  was  saved  from  being  destroyed,  or 
made  prisoners,  before  it  coxtld  receive  the  full  support 
which  had  been  promised  by  the  Duke  of  Wellington. 
The  latter  intended  to  advance  on  Quatre-Bras  at  2  o'clock, 
and  debouch  on  St.  Amand  at  4  p.  m.  Ney,  however, 
did  an  important  act  in  checking  the  advance  of  five  or  six 
divisions  of  the  main  army  during  the  rest  of  the  day  while 
the  battle  of  Ivigny  was  decided,  and  in  this  repaired, in  a 
measure, his  various  faults  committed  on  the  i6th. 

The  French  bivouacked,  on  the  night  of  the  i6th,  on 
the  battlefield  of  Ivigny,  with  the  exception  of  Grouchy's 
division,  which  encamped  at  Sombref.  The  Duke  of 
Wellington  passed  the  night  at  Quatre-Bras, — his  army 
gradually  joining  him  till  the  morning  of  the  17th, — 
when  they  amounted  to  50,000  men.  The  victory 
acquired  by  Napoleon  at  Ivigny  did  not  fulfill  his  expec- 
tations. '  *  If  Marshal  Ney  had  attacked  the  British 
with  his  united  forces, ' '  said  the  Emperor,  ' '  they  must 
inevitably  have  been  crushed  ;  after  which,  he  might  have 
given  the  Prussians  a  conclusive  blow  ;  but,  even  if  after 
neglecting  that  first  step  he  had  not  committed  a  second, 


456  MILITARY    CAREER  OF 

in  impeding  the  movement  of  Count  d'  Erlon,  the  appear- 
ance of  the  first  corps  would  have  curtailed  Blucher's 
resistance,  and  secured  his overthrowwithout  a  possibility 
of  doubt ;  then  his  entire  army  must  have  been  captured 
or  annihilated." 

Ney  was  now  ordered  to  advance  on  Quatre-Bras  at 
daybreak,  and  attack  the  British  rear-guard,  while  Count 
lyobau  was  to  proceed  along  the  causeway  of  Namur,  and 
take  the  British  in  flank.  General  Pajol,  at  daybreak, 
also  went  in  pursuit  of  the  Prussians  under  Blucher.  He 
was  supported  by  Grouchy,  with  Kxcelmans'  cavalry, 
and  the  third  and  fourth  corps  of  infantry,  amounting  in 
all  to  about  32,000  men.  Grouchy  was  ordered  by  the 
Emperor  to  ' '  above  all  things,  pursue  the  Prussians 
briskly,  and  keep  up  a  communication  with  me  to  the 
left "  so  as  to  rejoin  the  main  army  whenever  required. 

Napoleon  rode  over  the  field  of  battle  at  Ligny,  and 
directed  every  assistance  be  given  to  the  wounded.  He 
then  hurried  to  the  support  of  Ney's  attack  on  Quatre- 
Bras.  He  learned  that  it  was  still  held  by  the  British,  and 
that  Ney  had  not  made  the  attack.  He  reproached  Ney 
on  meeting  him,  and  the  marshal  excused  his  delay  by 
declaring  he  believed  the  whole  British  army  was  there. 
This,  however,  was  not  the  case. 

The  Duke  of  Wellington,  who  intended  a  junction  with 
the  Prussians  at  Quatre-Bras, — ^buthad  been  frustrated  by 
their  disastrous  defeat  at  Lingy, — now  ordered  a  retreat 
on  Brussels,  leaving  the  Earl  of  Uxbridge,  with  his 
cavalry,  as  a  rear-guard.  Napoleon  directed  Count 
lyobau's  division  to  advance,  and  the  British  cavalry  then 
began  to  retire  in  battle-array.  The  French  army  moved 
forward  in  pursuit,  the  Emperor  leading  the  way. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  457 

The  weather  was  extremely  bad,  the  rain  falling  in 
torrents,  so  that  the  roads  were  scarcely  passable.  The 
attack  of  cavalry  on  the  British  rear-guard  was,  therefore, 
impracticable,  but  they  were  much  discomfited  by  the 
French  artillery.  About  6  o'clock  the  air  became 
extremely  foggy,  so  that  all  further  attack  was  relinquished 
for  the  night ;  but  not  until  the  Emperor  had  ascertained 
that  the  whole  Knglish  army  was  encamped  on  the  field 
of  Waterloo,  in  front  of  the  forest  of  Soignies. 

Napoleon,  having  ascertained  the  retreat  of  Blucher  on 
Wavres,  and  committed  the  pursuit  of  him  to  Marshal 
Grouchy,  believed  that  the  latter  was  close  to  the  same 
place, — as  he  ought  to  have  been  ;  but  was  not.  At  10 
o'clock  on  the  night  of  the  17th  the  Kmperor  dispatched 
an  officer  to  Wavres,  to  inform  Grouchy  that  there  would 
be  a  great  battle  next  day  ;  that  the  English  and  Belgian 
armies  were  posted  on  the  field  of  Waterloo,  its  left 
supported  by  the  village  of  I^a  Haye  ;  and  ordered  him  to 
detach  seven  thousand  men,  of  all  arms,  and  six  pieces  of 
cannon,  before  day  break  to  St.  Lambert,  to  be  near  to  the 
right  of  the  French  army,  and  co-operate  with  it ;  that  as 
soon  as  Blucher  evacuated  Wavres,  either  towards  Brussels, 
or  in  any  other  direction,  he  should  instantly  march  with 
the  rest  of  his  force,  and  support  the  detachment  sent  to 
St.  I^ambert.  About  an  hour  after  this  dispatch  was 
sent  off,  the  Emperor  received  a  report  from  Grouchy, 
dated  from  Gembloux  at  5  o'clock,  stating  that  "  he  was 
still  at  this  village,  and  had  not  learned  what  direction 
Blucher  had  taken!" 

At  4  o'clock  in  the  morning  a  second  officer  was  sent  to 
Grouchy  to  repeat  the  communication,  and  the  orders 
which  had  been  sent  to  Wavres  at  10  o'clock.  Another 
dispatch  soon  after  arrived  from  Grouchy, — who  had  not 


458  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

at  that  time  been  found  by  either  of  the  officers  sent  by  the 
Bmperor,  to  state  that,  ' '  he  had  learned  that  Blucher  was 
in  Wavres,  and  would  follow  him — in  the  morning!" 

The  Kmperor  was  now  convinced  that  he  had  not  an 
hour  to  spare.  He  saw  the  possibility  of  the  Duke's 
retreat  with  Blucher  through  the  forest,  their  subsequent 
junction,  while  the  great  armies  of  Russia  and  Austria 
were  about  to  cross  the  Rhine  and  advance  on 
Paris.  He  now  regretted  more  than  ever  that  he  had  been 
unable  to  attack  the  English  army  before  the  night  had 
intervened,  and  determined  to  follow  and  attack  it  now,  if 
it  commenced  a  retreat. 

It  was  not  until  6  o'clock  on  the  17th  of  June  that  the 
advance  guard  of  the  French  army  arrived  on  the  plains 
of  Waterloo, — a  delay  being  occasioned  by  unfortunate 
occurrences  upon  the  road, — otherwise  the  forces  would 
have  gained  the  spot  by  3  o'clock  in  the  day.  The  circum- 
stance appeared  to  disconcert  the  Emperor  extremely, 
who,  pointing  to  the  sun,  exclaimed  with  much  em- 
phasis, ' '  What  would  I  not  give,  to  be  this  day  possessed 
of  the  power  of  Joshua,  and  enabled  to  retard  thy  march 
for  two  hours  !" 

The  Duke  of  Wellington,  on  being  made  aware  of 
Blucher' s  march  on  Wavre,  and  in  adherence  to  the 
common  plan  of  campaign,  had  given  orders  for  falling 
back  from  Quatre-Bras.  He  had  before  now  been  heard 
to  say,  that  if  it  ever  were  his  business  to  defend  Brussels, 
he  would  choose  to  give  battle  on  the  field  of  Waterloo, 
in  advance  of  the  forest  of  Soignies  ;  and  he  now  retired 
thither,  in  the  confidence  of  being  joined  there  in  the  morn- 
ing by  Blucher.  The  English  at  last  reached  the  destined 
field, over  roads  covered  with  deep  mud,  and  in  the  face  of 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  459 

considerable  rain.  The  troops,  althougli  somewhat 
discouraged  by  the  command  to  retreat,  were  enthusiastic 
when  they  heard  of  their  leader's  purpose,  and  having 
taken  up  their  alloted  stations,  bivouacked  for  the  night 
assured  of  a  battle  on  the  morrow — the  i8th  of  June. 

Arrangements  having  been  effected  early  in  the  evening-, 
Wellington  now,  it  appears,  according  to  lyockhart, 
although  the  statement  is  not  fully  substantiated,  rode 
across  the  country  to  Blucher  to  inform  him  personally 
that  he  had  thus  far  effected  the  plan  agreed  on,  and  to 
express  his  hope  to  be  supported  on  the  morrow  by  two 
Prussian  divisions.  Blucher  replied  that  he  would  reserve 
a  single  corps  to  hold  Grouchy  at  bay  as  well  as  they 
could,  and  march  himself,  with  the  rest  of  his  army  upon 
Waterloo.     Wellington  then  returned  to  his  post. 

The  cross-roads  at  Mont  St.  Jean  were  in  an  almost 
impassable  condition  and  the  rain  continued  to  fall  in 
torrents.  Wellington  was  before  the  village  of  Mont 
St.  Jean,  about  a  mile  and  a  half  in  advance  of  the  small 
town  of  Waterloo,  on  a  rising  ground,  having  a  gentle 
and  regular  declivity  before  it, — ^beyond  this  a  plain  of 
about  a  mile  in  breadth, — and  then  the  opposite  heights 
of  I^a  Belle  Alliance,  on  which  the  French  were  expected 
to  form  their  line.  The  Duke  had  76,700  men  in  all ;  of 
whom  about  30,000  were  English.  He  formed  his  first 
line  of  the  troops  on  which  he  could  most  surely  rely, — 
the  greater  part  of  the  British  infantry,  with  the  troops  of 
Brunswick  and  Nassau,  and  three  corps  of  Hanoverians 
and  Belgians.  Behind  this  the  ground  sinks  and  then 
rises  again.  The  second  line,  formed  in  the  rear  of  the 
first,  was  composed  of  the  troops  whose  spirit  and  discipline 
were  more  doubtful — or  who  had  suffered  most  in  the 

30 


46o  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

action  at  Quatre-Bras ;  and  behind  all  these  was  placed 
the  cavalry.  The  position  crossed  the  two  highways 
from  Nivelles  and  Charleroi  to  Brussels,  nearly  where  they 
unite.  These  roads  gave  every  facility  for  movement  from 
front  to  rear  during  the  action  ;  and  two  country  roads 
running  behind,  and  parallel  with  the  first  and  second  lines, 
favored  movements  from  wing  to  wing.  The  chateau  and 
gardens  of  Hougomont,  and  the  farm-house  and  inclosures 
of  La  Haye  Sainte,  about  i ,  500  yards  apart,  on  the  slope 
of  the  declivity,  were  strongly  occupied  and  formed  the 
important  out-works  of  defense.  The  opening  of  the 
country  road  leading  directly  from  Wavre  to  Mont  St.  Jean, 
through  the  wood  of  Ohain,  was  guarded  hy  the  British 
left,  while  those  running  further  in  advance  might  be 
expected  to  bring  the  first  of  the  Prussians  on  the 
right  flank  of  the  French,  during  their  expected  attack. 
The  British  front  extended  in  all  over  about  a  mile,  with 
the  strong  outposts  of  Hougomont  (situated  near  the 
centre  of  the  right)  and  La  Haye  (which  was  in  front  of 
the  centre)  and  in  the  rear  the  village  of  Mont  St.  Jean 
with  the  reserve  force  stationed  there, — further  back,  the 
town  of  Waterloo  (which  has  given  its  name  to  the  battle 
because  it  was  thence  that  the  English  general  dated  his 
dispatches) — and  the  forest  of  Soignies,  as  positions  to 
retire  upon,  to  make  a  stand  or  cover  a  retreat.  A  more 
advantageous  ground  for  receiving  an  attack  could  not 
easily  be  obtained  in  any  open  country,  not  previously 
fortified.  It  was,  therefore,  sufficiently  evident  that  the 
Duke  of  Wellington  had  availed  himself  of  all  these  means 
of  defense,  by  a  circumspect  and  masterly  disposition  of 
his  forces. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  461 

It  was  Wellington's  design  to  hold  Napoleon  at  bay 
until  the  Prussian  advance  should  enable  him  to  charge 
the  French  with  superior  numbers,  while  it  was  Napoleon's 
wish  to  beat  the  Anglo-Belgian  army,  or  at  least  to  divide 
it,  as  well  as  to  cut  off  its  communications,  ere  Blucher 
could  arrive  on  the  field. 

Napoleon  hoped  to  turn  the  left  wing  of  the  Duke's 
army,  it  being  the  weakest,  and  divide  it  from  the  right 
wing  because  he  should  thus  intercept  its  junction  with 
the  Prussians  by  the  road  from  Wavre, — and  because  he 
was  in  constant  expectation  of  being  joined  himself  by 
Grouchy  from  that  side.  Having  effected  this  separation 
of  the  wings,  and  made  a  vigorous  attack  on  both  wings 
to  distract  the  attention,  it  was  his  design  to  fall  suddenly 
on  the  centre,  break  it,  and  rout  all  its  component  parts 
in  detail.  The  Duke  considered  it  his  businesss  to  defeat, 
if  possible,  all  these  attempts  ;  not  to  venture  a  general 
attack  in  return,  but  to  hold  his  defensive  position  in  the 
most  cautious  and  determined  manner  until  the  arrival  of 
Blucher. 

The  Emperor  had  in  the  field  72,000  men,  all  French 
veterans — each  of  whom  was,  as  he  declared,  worth  one 
Englishman  and  two  Prussians,  Dutch  or  Belgians,  Napo- 
leoh's  forces,  however,  unlike  those  of  Wellington's,  had 
been  on  the  march  all  through  the  tempestuous  darkness, 
many  of  them  had  not  had  suflScient  food,  and  the  greater 
part  of  them  did  not  reach  the  heights  of  I^a  Belle  Alliance 
until  the  morning  of  the  i8th  was  considerably  advanced. 
The  Duke's  followers  had  by  that  time  had  relreshment 
and  some  hours  of  repose. 

At  I  o'clock  in  the  morning,  the  Emperor  having 
issued  the  necessary  orders  for  the  battle  during  the  earlier 


462  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

part  of  the  night,  went  out  on  foot,  accompanied  by  his 
grand  marshal,  and  visited  the  whole  line  of  the  main 
guards.  The  forest  of  Soignies,  occupied  by  the  British, 
appeared  as  one  continued  blaze,  while  the  horizon  between 
that  spot  and  the  farms  of  I^a  Belle  Alliance  and  I^a  Haye 
Sainte,  was  brightened  by  the  fires  of  numerous 
bivouacs  ;  the  most  profcMmd  silence  reigning.  Some  time 
later  the  rain  began  to  fall  in  torrents.  Napoleon  feared 
more  than  anything  else  that  Wellington  would  continue 
his  retreat  on  Brussels  and  Antwerp, — thus  deferring  the 
great  battle  until  the  Russians  should  approach  the  valley 
of  the  Rhine.  The  night  of  June  17-18,  often  called  the 
"Vigil  of  Waterloo"  was  solemn,  dark  and  without 
unusual  incident  during  the  early  hours.  Several  officers 
sent  to  reconnoitre,  and  others  who  returned  to  head- 
quarters at  half-past  three,  announced  that  the  British  had 
made  no  movement.  At  4  o'clock  the  scouts  brought  in 
a  peasant,  who  had  served  as  a  guide  to  a  brigade  of 
English  cavalry  which  had  proceeded  to  secure  a  position 
on  the  left  at  the  village  of  Ohain.  Two  Belgian  deserters, 
who  had  just  quitted  their  regiments,  also  reported  that 
their  army  was  preparing  for  a  battle ;  and  that  no 
retrograde  movement  had  taken  place  ;  that  Belgium 
prayed  for  the  success  of  the  Bmperor,  as  the  Knglish  and 
Prussians  were  alike  unpopular. 

The  French  troops  bivouacked  amidst  deep  mud  and 
the  officers  thought  it  impossible  to  give  battle  on  the 
following  day ;  the  ground  being  so  moistened  that 
artillery  and  cavalry  could  not  possibly  manoeuvre,  while 
it  would  require  twelve  hours  of  fine  weather  to  dry  the 
soil.  On  reaching  the  eminence  of  La  Belle  Alliance  at 
sunrise,    and   beholding   the   enemy   drawn  up    on    the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  463 

opposite  side  and  in  battle  array,  the  Emperor  exclaimed, 
with,  evident  joy,  "At  last  !  at  last,  then,  I  have  these 
English  in  my  grasp  !  "  And  yet,  at  this  time,  his  exer- 
tions had  been  most  phenomenal,  and  he  was  far  from 
being  in  the  physical  condition  necessary  for  such  a  contest 
as  he  had  every  reason  to  expect.  He  had  been  eighteen 
hours  in  the  saddle  on  June  15th,  and  had  slept  but  three 
hours  before  the  battle  of  Ligny.  On  the  i6th  he  was 
again  for  eighteen  hours  on  horseback.  On  the  1 7th  he 
rose  at  five  in  the  morning  and  that  night  was  almost  con- 
tinually astir. 

The  Emperor's  breakfast  was  served  at  8  o'clock  and 
many  officers  ot  distinction  were  present.  "  The  enemy's 
army"  said  Napoleon,  "  is  superior  to  ours  by  nearly  a 
fourth ;  there  are,  nevertheless,  ninety  chances  in  our 
favor,  to  ten  against  us. ' '  The  Emperor  now  mounted  his 
horse,  and  rode  forward  to  reconnoitre  the  English  lines  ; 
after  which  he  remained  thoughtful  for  a  few  moments, 
and  then  dictated  the  order  of  battle.  It  was  written 
down  by  two  generals  seated  on  the  ground,  after  which 
two  aides-de-camp  promptly  distributed  it  among  the 
different  corps.  The  army  moved  forward  in  eleven 
columns,  and  as  they  decended  from  the  heights  of  I^a- 
Belle  Alliance  the  trumpets  played  "To  the  Field  !"  and 
the  bands  alternately  struck  up  airs  which  recalled  the 
memories  of  many  victories. 

The  French  line  of  battle  was  formed  in  front  of 
Planchenois,  having  the  heights  of  I^a  Belle  Alliance  in  the 
rear  of  its  centre.  The  forces  were  drawn  up  in  six  lines, 
on  each  side  of  the  causeway  of  Charleroi.  The  first  and 
second  lines  were  of  infantry,  having  the  light  cavalry 
at  each  of  its  wings,  so  as  to  unite  them  with  the  six  lines 


464  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

of  the  main  force.  The  artillery  was  placed  in  the 
intervals  between  the  brigades.  All  the  troops  were  in 
their  stations  by  about  10:30  o'clock. 

Amidst  this  mass  of  men  there  was  an  almost  painful 
silence  until  the  Emperor  rode  through  the  ranks  when 
he  was  received  with  the  utmost  enthusiasm ;  then,  giving 
his  last  orders,  he  galloped  to  the  heights  of  Rossome, 
which  commanded  a  complete  view  of  both  armies  below, 
with  a  considerable  range  on  each  side  beyond. 

While  Napoleon's  design  for  making  his  grand  attack 
from  the  centre,  on  I^a  Haye  Sainte, — which  was  directly 
in  front  of  the  enemy's  centre, — was  preparing,  he  gave 
orders  for  the  commencement  of  the  battle. 

The  grand  attack  on  the  centre  of  the  Anglo-Belgian 
army  was  to  be  made  by  Marshal  Ney.  The  marshal  had 
sent  word  to  Napoleon  that  everything  was  ready,  and  he 
only  awaited  the  order  to  begin.  Before  giving  it  Napoleon 
looked  over  the  field  of  battle  and  the  surrounding 
countr}^, — the  last  he  was  ever  tocontest.  He  then  perceived 
a  dark  mass  at  a  distance  in  the  direction  of  St.  I^ambert, 
where  he  had  ordered  Grouchy  to  send  a  detachment.  The 
glasses  of  all  the  ofl&cers  were  instantly  turned  towards  the 
object.  Some  thought  it  only  a  mass  of  dark  trees.  To 
remove  all  doubts  the  Emperor  dispatched  General  Dau- 
montjwith  a  body  of  three  thousand  light  cavalry,  to  form  a 
junction  with  them  if  they  were  the  troops  of  Grouchy,  or 
to  keep  them  in  check  if  they  were  hostile.  Through  a 
Prussian  hussar,  who  was  brought  in  a  prisoner,  it  was 
learned  that  the  dark  mass  was  the  advanced  guard  of 
Bulow,  who  was  coming  up  with  thirty  thousand  fresh  men; 
that  Blucher  was  at  Wavres  with  his  army,  and  that 
Grouchy  had  not  appeared  there. 


NAIOLEON  THE  GREAT  465 

A  messenger  was  immediately  dispatched  to  Marshal 
Grouchy,  to  march  on  St.  Lambert,  without  a  moment's 
delay,  and  take  Bulow's  division  in  the  rear.  It  was 
believed  that  Grouchy  must  be  near  at  hand,  whether  he 
had  received  the  various  orders  sent  him  or  not,  as  he 
himself  had  sent  word  that  he  should  leave  Gembloux  in 
the  morning,  and  from  this  place  to  Wavres  was  only 
three  leagues  distance. 

Napoleon  had  a  high  opinion  of  Grouchy  and  his 
punctuality,  he  being  an  officer  of  great  experience  ;  but 
the  Emperor  was  in  a  state  of  great  suspense  on  account 
of  his  failure  to  hear  from  him.  He  now  ordered  Count 
lyobau  to  follow  and  support  the  cavalry  of  Daumont,  and 
to  take  up  a  strong  position,  where,  with  ten  thousand 
men,  he  might  keep  thirty  thousand  in  check  ;  also  to 
redouble  the  attack  directly  he  found  that  Grouchy  had 
arrived  on  the  rear  of  the  Prussians.  Napoleon  thus  early 
found  himself  deprived  of  the  services  of  ten  thousand 
men  on  this  grand  field  of  battle.  These  events  caused 
some  change  in  his  first  plans,  being  deprived  of  the 
men  whom  he  was  thus  obliged  to  send  against  Gen- 
eral Bulow. 

"  We  had  ninety  chances  for  us  in  the  morning,"  said 
Napoleon  to  Soult ;  "but  the  arrival  of  Bulow  reduces 
them  to  thirty ;  we  have  still,  however,  sixty  against 
forty ;  and  if  Grouchy  repairs  the  horrible  fault  he  has 
committed  by  amusing  himself  at  Gembloux,  victory  will 
therefore  be  more  decisive  for  the  corps  of  Bulow  must 
in  that  case  be  entirely  lost. ' ' 

It  was  now  11:30  o'clock  and  the  Emperor  at  once 
turned  his  attention  to  the  main  attack  and  sent  word  to 
Ney  to  begin  his  movement.     Instantly  one  hundred  and 


466  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

twenty  pieces  of  artillery  were  unmasked.  Then  the 
French  opened  their  fire  of  musketry  on  the  advanced 
post  of  Hougomont  and  Jerome  Bonaparte,  under  cover 
of  its  fire,  charged  impetuously  on  the  Nassau  troops  in 
the  wood  about  the  house-  They  were  driven  before  the 
French,  but  a  party  of  English  guards  instantly  unmasked 
forty  pieces  of  cannon  and  maintained  themselves  in  the 
chateau  and  garden,  despite  the  desperate  character  of 
many  repeated  assaults.  Jerome,  masking  the  post  thus 
resolutely  held,  pushed  on  his  cavalry  and  artillery  against 
Wellington's  right.  The  English  formed  in  squares  to 
receive  them  and  defied  all  their  efforts.  For  some  time 
both  parties  opposed  each  other  here,  without  either 
gaining  or  losing  a  foot  of  ground.  At  length  the 
English  forced  back  the  French,  and  the  garrison  of 
Hougomont  was  relieved  and  strengthened.  There  was 
great  loss  on  the  side  of  the  British,  owing  to  the  sudden- 
ness of  the  attack,  and  the  fixed  position  and  dense  array 
of  the  squares.  The  loss  of  the  French  was  also  consid- 
erable ;  and  as  the  squares  remained  unbroken,  no 
apparent  advantage  was  gained  by  the  assault. 

The  French,  being  again  repelled,  a  communication  was 
reopened  with  Hougomont  and  the  small  body  of  English 
guards,  defending  the  chateau,  received  a  reinforcement 
under  Colonel  Hepburn.  The  garrison  of  Hougomont 
now  made  a  combined  charge;  and,  after  a  furious 
struggle,  in  which  the  utmost  valor,  both  individual  and 
collective  was  displayed  on  either  side,  drove  back  the 
French  once  more  out  of  the  wood,  and  recovered  the 
position.  The  French  in  their  turn  rallied, — returned 
with  renewed  vigor, — and  the  English  were  now  dis- 
lodged and  driven  out  with  great  slaughter.     They  rallied 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  467 

in  turn  and  immediately  re  turned,  and  again  they  recovered 
the  position.  The  French  charged  again  but  the  martial 
spirit  of  the  Knglish  guards  was  now  wrought  up  to  the 
highest  pitch,  and  all  the  attempts  of  the  assailants  to  dis- 
lodge them  proved  unavailing.  This  contest  lasted 
through  the  greater  part  of  the  day.  The  killed  and 
wounded  on  both  sides  during  the  struggle  for  this  single 
outpost  has  been  estimated  at  upwards  of  four  thousand. 

The  Emperor,  calmly  observing  the  whole  from  the 
heights,  praised  the  valor  of  the  English  guards  highly. 
He  now  ordered  Hougomont  to  be  attacked  by  a  battery  of 
howitzers  and  shells.  The  roofs  and  barns  then  took  fire, 
and  the  remnant  of  the  English  guards  remaining  were 
obliged  to  retreat  before  the  flames,  over  the  mingled  heaps 
of  dead  and  dying  bodies  of  their  comrades  and  assailants. 

The  first  onslaught  of  the  French  made  a  series  of 
dreadful  gaps  along  the  whole  of  the  enemy's  left  and  one 
of  its  divisions  was  completely  swept  away.  The  gaps  were 
quickly  filled  by  fresh  men,  however, as  a  column  of  French 
began  to  advance.  Before  it  could  be  supported  a  grand 
charge  of  English  cavalry  was  made,  which  broke  the 
column  o.f  French  infantry,  routed  it,  and  took  two 
eagles  and  several  pieces  of  cannon.  While  the  English 
were  wheeling  off  triumphantly,  they  were  met  by  a 
brigade  of  Milhaud's  cuirassiers.  A  desperate  conflict 
ensued  at  sword's  length,  the  combat  lasting  much  beyond 
the  usual  time,  the  result  of  a  meeting  of  two  bodies  of 
cavalry  being  generally  determined  in  a  few  minutes. 
A  quartermaster  of  the  lancers,  named  Urban,  rushed  into 
the  thickest  of  the  fight,  and  took  prisoner  the  brave 
Ponsonby,  commander  of  the  1,200  Scotch  dragoons,  - 
called  the  ' '  Scotch  Greys, ' '  from  the  color  of  their  horses. 


468  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

The  Scotch  sought  to  free  their  general  but  Urban  struck 
him  dead  at  his  feet ;  he  was  then  attacked  by  several 
dragoons,  but  instantly  rushing  at  the  holder  of  the 
standard  of  the  45  th  he  unhorsed  him  with  a  blow  of  his 
lance,  killed  him  with  a  second,  seized  the  colors,  killed 
another  of  the  Scotch  who  pursued  him  close,  and  then, 
covered  with  blood,  returned  to  his  colonel  with  the  trophy 
which  had  but  a  short  time  before  been  captured  from 
Marcognet's  division. 

Desperate  charges  of  infantry  and  cavalry  now  followed 
in  rapid  succession,  the  immediate  object  of  the  French 
being  the  occupation  of  the  outpost  of  the  Anglo-Belgian 
army  at  the  farm  of  I^a  Haye  Sainte,  and  thence  to  push 
on  to  the  farm  of  Mont  St.  Jean.  Some  of  the  Scotch 
regiments  made  a  gallant  defense,  but  were  overpowered  ; 
the  5th  and  6th  English  divisions  were  nearly  destroyed, 
and  General  Picton,  who  commanded  the  English  left,  was 
laid  dead  on  the  field. 

The  French  eventually  carried  La  Haye  Sainte;  a 
body  of  their  infantry  pushed  forward  beyond  the  farm, 
and  overwhelmed  and  scattered  several  regiments  ;  but 
were  charged  in  their  turn  by  two  brigades  of  English 
foot  and  heavy  cavalry  and  routed.  In  consequence  of 
this  the  farm  of  La  Haye  Sainte  was  vigorously  assaulted 
by  the  English  ;  and  with  the  assistance  of  cannon  and, 
shells,  was  recovered. 

This  important  post  was  taken  and  retaken  several 
times,  with  an  energy  that  never  relaxed  on  either  side. 
An  error  in  tactics,  of  which  Ney  and  d'Erlon  had  been 
guilty,  had  left  four  or  five  columns  of  French  infantry  at 
the  mercy  of  the  enemy's  cavalry,  and  cost  them  3,000 
men  in  dead,  wounded  and  prisoners.     The  English  had 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  469 

lost  part  of  their  dragoons,  partofKemptand  Pack's  cav- 
alry, and  Generals  Picton  and  Ponsonby, — all  amounting 
to  about  the  same  mumber  as  the  French  had  lost;  but  the 
English  had  maintained  their  position  and  the  whole 
operation  was  to  be  recommenced  under  the  disadvantage 
of  having  foiled  in  the  first  attempt. 

The  French  were  still  masters  of  a  part  of  I^a  Haye 
Sainte  farm  and  were  rallying  again  on  the  side  of  the 
valley  which  lay  between  them  and  the  English.  Napoleon 
joined  them,  and  walked  in  front  of  their  ranks  midst 
bullets  rebounding  from  one  line  to  another,  and  howitzers 
resounding  in  the  air,  General  Desvaux,  commander  of 
the  artillery  of  the  Guard  being  killed  at  his  side. 

During  these  assaults  on  the  centre  of  the  British  line, 
the  French  cuirassiers  had  advanced  to  the  charge  in  the 
face  of  a  terrific  fire  from  the  artillery  in  front  of  the 
British  infantry.  The  infantry  awaited  it,  formed  in  a 
double  line  of  squares,  placed  checkerwise,  so  that  the 
sides  of  each  square  could  fire  a  volley  on  the  advancing 
cavalry,  and  protected  in  front  by  a  battery  of  thirty  field- 
pieces.  The  French  cuirassiers  rode  up  to  the  very 
mouths  of  the  cannon,  charged  the  artillerymen,  drove 
them  from  their  guns,  and  then  rode  fiercely  on  the  squares 
behind.  These  remained  steadfast,  withholding  their  fire 
until  the  French  were  within  a  few  yards  of  their  bayonets, 
and  then  opened  on  them  with  deadly  effect.  The  cavalry 
was  all  but  broken,  then  rallied  and  renewed  their  charge. 
This  they  did  several  times,  and  always  with  the  same  result. 
Sometimes  they  even  rode  between  the  squares,  and 
charged  those  of  the  second  line.  As  the  cuirassiers 
retired    the  artillerymen  rushed  from  behind  the  squares, 


470  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

formed  four  deep,  maimed  their  guns,  and  fired  grape-shot 
with  terrible  effect  on  the  retreating  body  of  gallant  but 
ineflfective  cavalry. 

At  length  protracted  exposure  to  such  a  murderous  fire 
completed  the  ruin  of  these  fearless  cavaliers,  the  far 
greater  part  being  annihilated  in  this  part  of  the  battle. 

When  the  relics  of  the  cuirassiers  at  last  withdrew,  the 
French  cannonade  opened  up  furiously  once  more  all  along 
the  line.  It  was  vigorously  re  turned,  but  the  effect  was  far 
more  devastating  amidst  the  British  ranks  than  in  those 
of  their  assailants.  The  English  were  then  commanded 
by  Wellington  to  lie  fiat  on  the  ground  for  some  space,  in 
order  to  diminish  its  effects.  The  Duke  had  by  this  time 
lost  10,000  men  and  Napoleon  possibly  a  few  more. 

It  was  now  4  o'clock  and  about  this  time  the  Emperor 
received  intelligence  from  Gembloux,  that,  notwithstand- 
ing his  repeated  orders.  Marshal  Grouchy  had  not  left 
his  encampment  at  that  place  till  after  10  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  in  consequence,  it  was  said,  of  the  state  of  the 
weather.  The  body  of  ten  thousand  men,  under  Count 
lyobau  and  General  Daumont,  were  now  in  action  with  the 
Prussians  under  Bulow,  near  St.  Lambeth.  The  can- 
nonade continued  for  considerable  time ;  the  Prussian 
centre  was  then  attacked  and  beaten  back,  but  its  wings 
advancing.  Count  Lobau  was  obliged  to  retire. 

At  this  crisis  Napoleon  dispatched  General  Dufre^e, 
with  two  brigades  of  infantry  of  the  young  guard,  and 
twenty -four  pieces  of  cannon,  and  the  Prussian  advance 
was  checked.  They  still  endeavored  to  out-flank  the 
French  right,  when  several  battalions  of  the  Old  Guard, 
with  sixteen  pieces  of  cannon,  were  sent  forward  ;  the 
Prussian  line  was  then  out-flanked,  and  Bulow  driven  back. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  471 

At  about  5  o'clock  Count  d'  Krlon  had  taken  possession 
of  the  village  of  Ter-la-Haye ;  out-flanking  the  English 
left  and  Bulow's  right.  It  appears  that  Count  Milhaud's 
cuirassiers — which  Ney  had  so  often  led  against  the  enemy, 
and  who  were  behind  d'  Erlon — and  the  Chasseurs  of  the 
Guard,  supported  by  an  incessant  fire  from  the  infantry 
of  General  lyefebvre-Desnoettes,  dashed  across  the  plain 
beyond  the  farm  of  I^a  Haye  Sainte.  The  advance  of 
eight  regiments  and  four  brigades  of  their  formidable 
horsemen  created  a  great  sensation,  as  it  was  believed  the 
final  moment  was  come.  As  General  Milhaud  passed 
before  Lefebvre-Desnoettes,  he  grasped  his  hand  and  said, 
' '  I  am  going  to  charge,  support  me  ! ' '  The  commander 
of  the  light  cavalry  of  the  Guard  believed  it  was  by  order 
of  the  Emperor  he  was  desired  to  support  the  cuirassiers, 
and  following  their  movement  he  took  up  a  position  behind 
them.  It  was  Ney's  belief,  as  he  had  said  to  Druot,  that 
were  he  allowed  to  act  he  could,  unaided,  with  such  a 
body  of  noble  cavalry  at  his  disposal,  now  put  an  end  to 
the  English  army. 

A  fierce  struggle  ensued  in  which  Ney  had  some 
advantage  over  the  English,  but  not  what  had  been 
expected.  He  now  hastened  towards  Lefebvre-Desnoettes, 
niade  a  signal  to  advance,  and  precipitated  him  on  the 
Duke  of  Wellington's  English  and  German  cavalry.  This 
charge  allowed  the  somewhat  disorganized  cuirassiers  time 
to  form  again,  and  they, with  the  chasseurs  and  lancers, fell 
again  upon  the  English  cavalry.  Thousands  of  hand-to- 
hand  conflicts  now  were  in  progress,  ending  in  the  enemy 
retreating  behind  the  squares  of  the  English  infantry,  thus 
stopping  the  onward  progress  of  the  French  horsemen. 


472  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

Ney  had  two  horses  killed  under  him,  but  he  was  still 
determined  to  fulfill  his  vow  to  break  the  English  lines. 
Observing  now,  on  the  other  side  of  the  plateau,  3,000 
cuirassiers  and  2,000  mounted  grenadiers  of  theGuard  that 
had  not  been  yet  engaged,  the  Marshal  asked  that  they  be 
given  him  to  complete  the  victory. 

About  6  o'clock  there  was  disorder  in  a  great  part  of 
the  Duke  of  Wellington's  army.  The  ranks  were  thinned 
by  the  number  killed,  by  those  carried  off  wounded,  and 
by  desertions.  Soldiers  of  various  nations,  Belgian, 
Hanoverian  and  English  ' '  crowded  to  the  rear  ' '  and  fled 
in  a  panic  from  this  dreadful  action.  "A  number  of 
our  own  dismounted  dragoons"  says  Captain  Pringle, 
' '  together  with  a  portion  of  our  infantry,  were  glad  to 
escape  from  the  field.  These  thronged  the  road  leading 
to  Brussels,  in  a  manner  that  none  but  an  eye-witness 
could  have  believed." 

Cries  of  "  Victory  !"  now  resounded  from  the  French 
over  different  parts  of  the  field.  Napoleon  on  hearing  this, 
observed, — ' '  It  is  an  hour  too  soon  ;  but  we  must  support 
what  is  done."  He  then  sent  an  order  for  a  grand 
charge  of  three  thousand  cuirassiers  under  Kellerman  on 
the  left, and  who  were  to  move  forward  briskly  and  support 
the  cavalry  on  the  low  grounds. 

A  distant  cannonade  was  now  heard  in  the  direction  of 
Wavres.  It  announced  the  approach  of  Grouchy — or 
Blucher  ! 

At  12:30  o'clock  Grouchy  was  midway  between 
Gembloux  and  Wavres.  The  tremendous  cannonade  of 
Waterloo  resounded  from  the  distance.  General  Excel- 
mans  rode  up  to  the  marshal,  and  told  him  that  "  he  was 
convinced  that  the  Emperor  must  be  in  action  with  the 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  473 

Anglo-Belgian  army  ;  that  so  terrible  a  fire  could  not  be 
an  affair  of  outposts  or  skirmishing ;  and  that  they  ought 
to  march  to  the  scene  of  action,  which,  by  turning  to  the 
left,  they  might  reach  within  two  hours. ' ' 

Grouchy  paused  awhile,  and  then  reverted  to  his  orders 
to  follow  Blucher,  although  he  did  not  know  where  Blucher 
really  was.  Count  Girard  came  up,  and  joined  in  the 
advice  of  General  Kxcelmans.  Still  Grouchy  remained 
doubtful,  and  as  if  stupefied.  "At  one  moment"  says 
Hazlitt  "he  appeared  convinced  ;  but  just  then  a  report 
came  that  the  Prussians  were  at  Wavres,  and  he  set  out 
once  more  after  them,"  instead  of  instantly  hurrying  off" 
to  join  the  Emperor  in  his  great  battle. 

It  was  a  rear-guard  which  Blucher  had  left  at  Wavres  ; 
and  the  Prussian  leader  had  gone  to  Waterloo,  at  the  head 
of  30,000  men,  having  been  advised,  as  previously  stated, 
that  the  Duke  of  Wellington  would  hazard  a  battle  on  the 
morning  of  the  i8th,  if  he  could  depend  on  the  co-opera- 
tion of  the  Prussians.  The  veteran  marshal,  at  an  early 
hour,  had  detached  the  corps  of  Bulow,  with  orders  to 
march  on  St.  Lambert,  leaving  Mielman  with  his  corps  at 
Wavres. 

The  Duke  had  expected  to  be  joined  by  Blucher  as 
early  as  11  o'clock;  but  the  roads  were  in  such  a 
condition  that  the  Prussians  could  not  accomplish  the 
march  in  any  such  time  as  had  been  calculated.  Their 
advance  was  necessarily  slow, — but  it  was  in  the  right 
direction  ! 

Meanwhile,  the  Emperor  on  the  battlefield  of  Waterloo, 
had  reluctantly  ordered  the  charge  of  Kellerman's  three 
thousand  cuirassiers,  asked  for  by  Ney,  to  sustain  and 
follow  up  the  advantage  of  the  cuirassiers  of  Milhaud  and 


474  MILITARY  CAREER  OF 

the  chasseurs  of  the  Guard,  on  the  plain  below.  The 
marshal's  contest  had  been  carefully  watched  by  Napo- 
leon who  declared  at  once  that  Ney  was  too  impatient, 
and  had  begun  an  hour  too  soon.  ' '  This  man  is  always 
the  same. ' '  said  Marshal  Soult.  ' '  He  will  compromise 
everything  as  he  did  at  Jena  and  Eylau. ' ' 

Kellerman  was  now  all  ready  for  action,  but  he  con- 
demned the  desperate  use  which  at  this  moment  was  to  be 
made  of  the  cavalry.  Distrusting  the  result,  he  kept 
back  one  of  his  brigades,  the  carbineers,  and  most 
unwillingly  sent  the  remainder  to  Ney,  whom  he  accused 
of  foolish  zeal. 

These  twenty  squadrons,  led  on  by  their  generals  and 
ofl&cers,  now  advanced  at  full  gallop  as  if  in  pursuit  of 
the  English  army,  shouting,  "  Vive  1'  Empereur  !  "  and 
under  the  cannonade  of  the  Prussians,  for  Bulov/  was  still 
pressing  upon  the  flank  and  rear.  Other  bodies  of 
cavalry  also  advanced  upon  the  centre  of  the  Anglo- 
Belgian  army,  making  a  spectacle  which  General  Foy,  an 
eye-witness,  afterwards  declared  that  during  his  long 
military  career  he  had  never  been  present  at  such  a  fearful 
scene  as  he  then  beheld. 

While  Napoleon  was  watching  their  several  charges, 
General  Guy  of  s  division  of  heavy  cavalry  was  seen 
following  the  cuirassiers  of  Kellerman.  This  latter  move- 
ment was  without  the  Emperor's  orders,  and  seems  to 
have  been  the  result  of  ungovernable  excitement  on  the 
part  of  the  officers  and  men,  who  thought  they  could 
finish  the  battle  by  a  coup  de  main. 

The  Emperor  instantly  sent  Count  Bertrand  to  recall 
them  ;  but  it  was  too  late  !  The  cavalry,  once  started, 
nothing  could  arrest  its  rush — thej^  were  in  action  before 
the  order  could  reach  them  ;  and  to  recall  them  now 
would   have   been   dangerous,    even   if    possible.      This 


by  . 


*lble. 


NAPOLEON  THE  GREAT  475 

division  was  the  reserve,  and  ought  by  all  means  to  have 
been  held  back.  Thus  was  the  Kniperar  deprived  of  his 
reserve  of  cavalry  as  early  as  5  o'clock. 

It  is  said  that  during  the  preparation  of  this  grand 
charge  of  12,000  French  cavalry, —